I have to admit…. I’ve been loving the freshly ground flour I have been getting from Upinngil Farm, but it has remarkably different qualities and characteristics compared to whole wheat flours you can buy from the grocery store that I’ve been having a hard time making a reasonably good loaf of bread. The bread I have made thus far has been delicious, but really really dense…. like so dense you can’t even judge the crumb of the bread. So, after some experimenting and a bread-making class (from Brookline Adult Ed), I got a loaf that actually turned out pretty well, without too crazy of a kneading/rising etc schedule. I will now share with you, if by chance you are working with similar flour (I am assuming when I mill my own flour- sometime soon- that it will be a similar product to what Upinngil Farm produces):
Whole Wheat Baguette: (Makes three 10 oz loaves)
- 1 tbsp of dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sponge- or native yeast culture (you can just substitute 1/2 more tbsp of dry yeast)
- 3 cups of warm water
- 6 cups of whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Mix yeast and native culture with the warm water.
- Let sit for a few minutes, until bubbly.
- Beat in 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp of salt.
- Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 10-12 hours (overnight, naturally).
- Add remaining 1/2 tsp of salt and the remaining flour until the dough becomes just barely self adhesive enough to knead it, while still in the mixing bowl. I have found that the huge amount of bran in the flour makes it simply impossible to make a dough that you can take out and knead like normal bread without it being too dense.
- Therefore, you need to get it to a point so that when you grab the dough in your hand it still falls a part a little, but you can pick it up, fold it and push it, and it has enough cohesion to actually be ‘kneaded.’ IF you add flour past this soggy-falling-apart-just-barely-sticking-together stage, it just gets dense, and won’t rise. So, you get it to this point, and then you knead it in the bowl. This is through taking it into your hand, folding it up against the side of the bowl, and pushing it down putting force of the dough, so it sort of breaks on the outer skin of the dough ball. I find that if you knead it for 15 minutes it becomes a lot more cohesive, and a lot more like bread dough ought to be. Also, a really great mindless thing to do just as you get up in the morning.
- Then you cover it and let it rise for 1-2 hours.
- You punch it down, or briefly knead it.
- Divide the dough into three balls of ~ 10 oz. Pull the dough to form a ball.
- Flatten them out, just a little.
- Cover. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Form standard loaves. I tend to find you can flatten then into rectangles, fold lengthwise 1/3 of the dough, then fold the sides in just a few inches. Then fold the middle third of the dough over the last and pinch the dough together really well. You get a nice long loaf.
- Set on parchment.
- Cover with a moist towel.
- Let rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- When ready to put in the oven, take a knife and slice into the top of the loaf, three times.
- Then sprinkle with a reasonable amount of water.
- Stick in the oven and bake at 450F for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle water on top of the bread a couple of times in the initial 15 minutes (this helps it rise and expand by keeping the crust moist).
- Reduce heat after 15 minutes to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes, or until when tapped the bread sounds hollow.
- Take out of oven, let cool for 15 minutes.
- Remove from parchment.
I like to make a lot of bread at once and freeze some down for future use. Gets more bang for your time.