BBA Challenge #41: Whole Wheat Bread

Is it OK if I am not all that enthused about posting on this bread–this, one of the last breads in the BBA Challenge?  As you near the last few miles of a marathon, you supposedly get a new burst of energy, a sense of the impending achievement that spurs you on with the realization that the lion’s share of the effort is behind you, but in my case I’m still waiting for that second (third?  eighth?) wind to kick in.  And I’m not sure there’s any prize other than a more amply padded waistline…which is a very different sort of end to that of the 26.2 mile variety of marathon…

But on with it.  This bread ended up tasting exactly like a (very good quality) store-bought whole wheat bread.  It was light and tender, which in itself is not shabby for being 100% whole wheat bread, but I found it a bit too sweet.  In fact, I have realized that pure whole wheat, not mixed in with other flavors, is too blandly sweet for me.  It’s a funny realization–in that I’d never expect to find a good, healthy whole grain too sweet–but there it is.  I still use plenty of whole wheat, don’t get me wrong:  I love a little bit of whole wheat along in with other flours to add complexity to an artisan loaf, or to add to scones or pancakes along with white flour, and I absolutely am crazy for it in chocolate chip cookies.  But I don’t see myself making a wheat bread that is comparable to a (albeit better quality) store-bought, pre-sliced sandwich loaf.  Granted, all without the use of added chemicals or artificial ingredients, which is something–just not my kind of something.

Reinhart’s Whole Wheat starts out with a double soaker–the idea is that allowing the flour to hydrate and then rest overnight (or, er, soak), in one case with water and in another with milk, breaks down all the whole grain components that normally make whole wheat breads dense and heavy.  As a result, these breads can rise higher and loftier. 

The two soakers are cut up and mixed together, and then allowed to rise and rise again.

And rise this dough did–do you think I underestimated how much this dough could grow?  It’s a testament to Reinhart’s method, to be sure…

And unfortunately my last photo.  Some sort of snafu prevented me from showing you the final baked loaf.  But, as you might have guessed, it wasn’t all that pretty.

Two more.  TWO MORE.  Keep my nose to the grindstone people.  I am almost there!

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11 thoughts on “BBA Challenge #41: Whole Wheat Bread

  1. I know what you mean. It was a fine bread, but nothing I felt the need to make again. The next loaves, though, will be a whole different story!!!

    • Thanks you guys for the motivation! Hopefully I’ll be reporting back soon (but I’m always distracted by something on the sweet side…dentist’s daughter!)

  2. I am stuck on sourdough and I hope to whip that out this weekend and be done with that section so that I can move on…just want to get on with it and finish that book. Your process photos are great…love seeing and learning from those who have gone before…it all looks great from where I am sitting.

    • It’s definitely an interesting method, and it’s a pretty impressive result for the type of bread it’s meant to produce–it’s just that I’m not a fan of standard sandwich bread, but for someone who is it’s definitely worth it.

  3. You’re almost there and still inspiring to those of us back at bread 24! Remember panettone? That’s what I just did. Thank of all you’ve learned since then. And, I just started doing a bit of running. I ran a 5K a couple of weeks ago and I must say that it was a bad run all around and I didn’t get my second wind until the last .2 miles. I felt incredible afterwards though! Hang in there!

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