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!