Thursday, August 29, 2013

Whole Wheat bread - it is 100% this time :-)

It has been exactly 2 weeks since I wrote my last post. Anybody missed me? Just say yes and make me happy:-), won't you?. Hope everyone is having a great time cooking, eating and chatting away especially with the Hindu festivals lined up this month. I did all of that and much more, we had a bunch of friends over on varalakshmi habba and made little Krishna's favorite snacks for Gokulashtami/Krishnashtami/Janmashtami. With so much food around me, why wasn't I still posting anything? This is when you guys ask me what was the thing that consumed me so much without feeling the urge to blog about food. Well, without going into a lot of personal details I will tell you, we had the time of our lives as our DD performed solo and did her Bharatanatyam Arangetram. She did a splendid job and we are so very proud of her. An Arangetram is sorta graduation for an Indian classical dance student where she or he presents a solo performance with the blessings of the teacher or Guru in the presence of family, friends and a gathering. The learning doesn't end but the event grants the dancer permission to pursue it with additional passion, get deeper into the art with a more mature perspective. DD has been learning for a decade now and all her hard work and dedication to the art sparkled in last weekend's performance. Last two weeks were hectic not only for the dancer but for the rest of the family and now we are feeling completely dazed out and drained out :-) in a very happy way. The young dancer is taking rest while her parents are trying to tidy up the house, get back to work, push for the photos, video etc. So that is where I have been these last two weeks.

Let me return to our usual chatter about food after that glimpse into my personal life. I cooked up a storm as we had loads of people but didn't stop to take any pictures and also didn't experiment much as I was focused on being efficient and making tasty food for the people that had gathered at home. While I am yet to revert back to my picture taking regimen again, I do have a few posts in the draft with a whole bunch of pictures that I made recently and I plan to use those as fillers. Old or new, every recipe is tested and tasted and certified :-).

I had earlier posted a whole wheat bread (not 100% whole wheat, there was an honest declaration in that blog post), today's post is a 100% whole wheat with no trace of all purpose flour and this is one of the best and healthiest wheat breads I have ever had. It is very easy to make if you are game for a 15 minute kneading exercise, if not you have alternatives - buy a bread machine, recruit the spouse to do the kneading, everything is fair in love, war and bread making. I saw this recipe first on King Arthur's website and while I wanted some more testimonials when I saw it on our versatile baking whizz Priya's website, and I knew I had the right recipe :-).
The best part of this wheat bread is you make it at home and the sturdy loaf is ready in under 4 hours and the wonderful aroma of the fresh bread fills your senses the whole day. You can freeze the slices for upto a week so if you eat bread regularly, go ahead, double the recipe and bake 2 loaves. I made this bread 3 times in the last few weeks as my FIL is on a diabetic diet and I feel comfortable feeding him this home made bread instead of the store bought version since I know exactly what goes into it.

I don't have kitchen scales or a thermometer. So when I say warm, it should pass 'baby test', remember how you would put a drop of the warm milk on the back of your fist before giving the bottle to the little one? Just repeat that test and it works like a charm :-)
What do you need to make (100%) whole wheat bread?
Makes 1 regular loaf (9X5 bread pan)
3.5 cups whole wheat (I used Bob's Red mill flour)
2.5 Tsp Rapid rise yeast (also called bread machine yeast)
1/4 cup oil (I used canola, choose any non-flavored oil)
2 Tblsp honey
1+1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup dry milk powder (I used fat free)
1 Tsp salt
1 stick of butter - no you don't use all of that, infact any of it, it is just easy to hold the stick and brush it on top of hot bread :-), think 2 drops of melted butter if it makes you feel better

How do you make (100%) whole wheat bread?
  • Heat the water for 30 seconds in microwave or until water is luke warm.
  • Bring all ingredients into a large bowl, add water and mix it until the dough comes together.
  • Put the dough on a flat surface and knead it for 10-12 minutes until the dough becomes supple.
  • Put it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with an lightly oiled cling wrap and set aside in a warm place for an hour or until the dough increases 1.5-2 times in volume.
  • At this time, take the dough out onto a flat surface, gently punch it down and shape it into a loaf (see here for detailed instructions on shaping the dough)
  • Put the prepared loaf in the bread pan, cover with the cling wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Mean while preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the top, turn it half way once at 15 minutes or so. 
  • Take it out of the oven, let it stay in the pan for 5-7 minutes, turn it over onto a cooling rack, brush butter lightly on the bread. 
  • Cover it with a thin wash cloth and let it cool completely for 2-3 hours. 
  • Slice the bread with a sharp knife and enjoy it hot or cold, toasted or untoasted in any combination that pleases you.
  • Add 1 cup of water first into the bowl and then slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup as needed. The resulting dough is not sticky but soft and firm. Since I do not weigh the flour, the measurements depends completely on how you use your measuring cups.
  • This dough does not need extra flour while kneading.
  • If you are kneading by hand, there is not really an 'over knead' possible so go on and switch the timer for 12 minutes, whistle a tune or two and knead it.
  • I like to sprinkle a spoonful of oats or flax seeds at the bottom of the pan and on top of the loaf before baking, this gives a nice crunch while eating.
  • You can substitute molasses or maple syrup in place of honey depending on your taste preference.


Shanthi said...

Delicious and inviting. Pics look great.

NamsVeni Pothas said...

hearty congrats to you and your DD. for the great performance she did in a spectacular way.the whole wheat bread is really tasty and healthy. I can say it is an ideal breakfast or dinner or even for lunch. thanks Sattva for the wonderful bread.

Priya Suresh said...

Wow, congrats to u both..Whole wheat bread looks extremely prefect and wonderfully bakes.. That sandwich is just inviting me.

Chitz said...

Yes dear, for sure missed u :) And the bread looks perfect & soft & spongy.. wud love to try it out !