Whole Wheat Bread: BBA #41

I needed a Whole Wheat bread as we were out of sandwich bread and I didn’t feel like making another Struan at the moment. And preferably, the bread would use 100% whole grain, and didn’t use any dairy. Well, the Whole Wheat bread in Reinhart’s BBA fit the bill perfectly. OK, I know this is really going out of order for the challenge, but sometimes you have to be flexible!

Freshly mixed Whole Grain poolish

Freshly mixed Whole Grain poolish made of Rye, 7-Grain cereal, and whole wheat flour

I set up the Poolish and the Soaker last night. I didn’t have any coarsely ground whole wheat for the soaker, so I used about 2.5 ounces of whole ground rye, some 7-grain cereal from Bob’s Red Mill, and some regular King Arthur whole wheat (not white whole wheat).

Unfortunately, it was pretty late when I mixed up these preferments, and the poolish needed to get a bit spongy and go into the fridge. Well, I forgot. So the poolish rose quite a bit more than it probably should have before I remembered and put it away. Here it is just before going into the fridge with the kitty checking it out:

Whole Wheat Bread poolish and Cat

The poolish after rising with the cat checking it out.

Next day, I mixed the rest of the flour with the remaining ingredients and the poolish and soaker. (Interestingly, the soaker had gelled over night.) I used the optional oil, but not the optional egg.

Overall, the moisture level was good, although it really seemed dry at first. During kneading, I did need to add regular dustings of flour to keep the stickiness down. I had trouble getting a window-pane test that I liked. The dough really wanted a lot more kneading than I expected. About 10 minutes in, I gave it a 5 minute rest before continuing. Not sure it helped too much, but it at least relaxed the dough a bit.

Kneaded Whole Wheat bread dough

Kneaded dough for Whole Wheat bread. Supple and slightly tacky, but not sticky.

On the bulk rise, my dough was 83 degrees when the kneading was complete. The kitchen temp was about 78 degrees. And because of the heat, it rose quite quickly. It wasn’t quite ready at 1 hour. But at 1 hr 15 min, it was well over doubled. Oops! So I got it out and split it up into loaves. I think I somewhat exhausted the yeast, because while is certainly rose in the bread pans, it was not as enthusiastic. I barely got over the edge of the pans at 1 hour, but the dough didn’t look like I should wait any longer. So into the oven. Yeah, got zero oven spring which I suspect is more a problem with my over-rising than the recipe.

They baked up very fast. I had the oven at 350 on convection. I probably should have dropped it down to 325, but I’m still trying to figure out this new oven. Sometimes it seems to run at a lower temp, but I’m not sure if that’s just because it’s not really ready when the beeper signals it is? Or if it really is too low. Anyway, the bread was fully baked at 25 minutes! Temp was 197 degrees, the loaves sounded hollow, and the color/feel was good. So out they came.

The flavor is good. I need to let them fully cool to see what they really taste like! Next time, I will either increase the dough amount, or try baking the full recipe in a single 9×5 inch pan (I used two 8.5 x 4.5 inch pans for the above).

This weekend, it is back to the regular line-up with French Bread. I may do the French and the Italian both together for a side-by-side comparison. Or maybe not!

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