Thursday, October 8, 2009

Artisan Whole Wheat Boule

3 cups organic whole wheat flour 
3 cups unbleached organic white flour (or 2-4 cups actually) 
3 cups of warm water
3 teaspoons of yeast
2 tsp brown sugar

Put a stopper in kitchen sink. Fill the pottery (works best as the clay body retains more heat than glass or metal) bread bowl with hot water, fill sink with hot water, dump hot water out of bread bowl into sink, replace with 3 cups of warm (98.6 degrees F., or body temperature) water. Melt brown sugar then yeast in water and whisk in 3 cups of flour. Let it set and rise for about 15 minutes. Then remove bowl from sink and add flour while mixing with strong wodden spoon. The exact amount of flour varies BECAUSE flour in not a uniform product. There are many types of flour and all of them are sold under the same label, in this case, "organic whole wheat" and "unbleached organic white". You add flour while stirring until mixture is no longer sticky and comes away nicely from the side of the bowl. The next step is to knead, and too sticky will not knead well, so you have to use your judgement. If you add too much flour, the bread will not rise well. Transfer the dough to the floured counter top and knead 100 times (approx) or until the gluten makes the dough very buoyant and responsive. In the mean time you have filled the sink with fresh hot water and place the mixing bowl back in it. Flour the outside of dough well and put it back into the floured bowl to rise. Preheat oven to 350. Dough should double in size. Place the round dough on a sheet and into the oven for 45-50 minutes.

Variations: knead in raisins, cinnamon, walnuts, brown sugar. Or try fresh chopped garlic grits, fresh diced rosemary and pitted kalamata olives. The latter can be dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar rather than buttered when done.

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