I’ve been experimenting with different bread recipes lately that include cold, slow fermentation (overnight in the refrigerator) and increased hydration. I use Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day for direction — the All Purpose Sweet Dough was fantastic, and the texture of the Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread was wonderful though the flavor wasn’t my favorite.
The thing I like most about this technique is that I don’t have to knead for so long. With the whole grain wheat flour I mill at home, it needs either about 20 minutes of kneading by hand, or this long fermentation to really let the grain soak up the liquids and develop the gluten.
With the Whole Wheat Oatmeal Sandwich Bread, the flavor tasted a little off to me as I had adapted it. So this time I used Reinhart’s Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread recipe as written, except I increased the hydration to accommodate the whole grain flour.
Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread from Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart
- 794 g freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 c lukewarm milk
- 1 1/2 c lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
- mixed as directed, using stand mixer
- performed 4 stretch and folds
- put dough in large dough bucket, cover with lid, and refrigerate overnight
- pull out of refrigerator at 9am next morning and divide into two equal portions
- shaped dough by flattening, folding like a letter, and rolling up
- placed in loaf pans sprayed with oil
- covered with plastic and placed in oven with proofing function on
- after 1 hour, the dough was bursting out the top, so moved to refrigerator and preheated oven to 360°
- punched down dough and shaped again, rising for 30 min
- bake 20 min., rotate, bake another 20 min.
These loaves are huge! I thought for awhile that there was too much yeast, and that the oven proofing was too much. They rose so high above the pans during baking that I was just certain they were going have a weak crumb and be full of air space inside.
So when I cut into them and found they were just fine, I was really happy! The crumb is soft and tender, and not crumbly. It’s just like the texture of a store bought loaf.
Each loaf weighs 1 lb 10 oz, and I think this recipe would work better divided into thirds if using a loaf pan like I did, so the pieces aren’t so tall.
I wasn’t wild about the flavor — I think I’m tasting all of the yeast. The recipe called for more than I typically use, and I think it affected the flavor.
Next time, I’d use half as much yeast and divide into three pieces.