Wholemeal boule and oval

This is a recipe for wholemeal bread. I'm making it as a boule and an oval but it can just as easily be formed using a loaf tin or even as rolls. It's entirely up to you. 

I'm also making a DOUBLE mix - but the ingredients here are for a SINGLE mix. 

Wholemeal bread is often called wholewheat bread. It's made from from flour where the majority or all of the wholewheat grains are milled. 

It's nutritionally richer than white flour, where the bran and the germ layers have been removed leaving about 75% of the original grain. Outside of the EU, white flour is often bleached using a range of undesirable chemicals or gases. Brown flour contains about 85% of the original grain and  remains chemically unbleached. White and brown flours are lighter to work with but also lower in nutrients. Consequently, as a result, wholemeal flour is heavier and a little more difficult to handle. 

Traditionally, the whiter the bread, the more expensive it was to buy and the richer you were to be able to buy it. White bread was the staple of kings and emperors, lords and ladies and, eventually, the middle classes. 

In medieval Europe, wholemeal bread was known as 'horsebread'. It was a dark, low quality bread made with whole grain, but also included acorns, split peas, bran, oats and maize. 

Medieval horsebread

During the Irish Famine and prior to 1848, the poor were given 'brown bread' containing high quantities of bran and it was considered only fit for the desperately poor. However, by 1865, attitudes to wholewheat bread had changed dramatically when it was realised that, nutritionally, it was better for you than the white alternative.

In the United States, the reformer, Sylvester Graham (inventor of the Graham cracker), promoted 'Graham Bread' in the 19th century. It was rich in whole grain and supported his belief in the benefits of a vegetarian and temperant lifestyle. 

the Graham cracker

Today, in Norway, Kneippbrød, a whole wheat bread invented by Sebastien Kneipp, a 19th century Bavarian minister and hypnotherapist, almost outsells all other bread forms. 

Norwegian Kneippbrød

WHOLEMEAL BOULE 


INGREDIENTS

400 gms strong wholemeal bread flour

115 gms strong white bread flour

350 mls water

1.5 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon demerera sugar

25 gms unsalted butter

1 teaspoon fast action instant yeast

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METHOD

First of all we're going to autolyse.

Place the flour in a pan (if you're using a machine) or bowl (if you're mixing by hand) and add the water. 

Combine the water and the flour together and then cover and leave for 30 minutes. 

Next.....

(Machine mixing)

Add the sugar, butter and salt to the dough and water mixture. Add the yeast - keeping it as far away as possible from the salt.  Choose a basic wholemeal dough programme (3hrs 15minutes) 

You're now ready for Stage 2
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(Hand mixing)

Place the water and flour mixture in a bowl and add the softened butter, the salt and the sugar. Mix together. Add the yeast and continue to mix until you have a sticky dough. 

Turn out the dough onto a floured board and knead until you have a soft and silky dough. 

Here's a useful video on the art of kneading bread. https://youtu.be/ySOj0fFWo1U

NEXT STEPS

When you have a smooth and silky dough, place it in an oiled bowl and put somewhere warm (22 - 24 degrees C) for one hour. 

At the end of the hour, tip the dough out onto a floured board and knock it back, so removing all the air. 

Now, decide whether you want to form it as rolls (weigh and divide), as an oval on a baking sheet or by using a loaf tin. 

I'm making one boule and an oval  so I'm going to form it into a ball, liberally flour it, shape it and place it into a well-floured banneton. 

Then it's going to rest for a further hour. 

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C

If you're using a pizza stone or corderite, remember to put it into a cold oven and heat it from cold. 

Lightly spray the loaf with water. 

Turn the loaf out onto a baking sheet or on to a baker's peel, slash as desired and then place on a low shelf in the oven. 

Bake for 30 minutes until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. 

Cool on a cooling rack. 







Happy baking...... 





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