18 September 2010

Golden Wheat Bread

I bought Uprisings, my first whole-grain baking book off the book-rack at a Fresh Fields grocery store in 1999. It was early in my bread-making career and I wanted a truly whole-wheat bread that made a good sandwich loaf.

The recipe

Golden Wheat Bread wasn't quite that loaf. But I loved it anyway. It was dense and chewy but not too heavy. The whole wheat flavor was good, but not overpowering. It makes really, really excellent toast.

I also loved the book, and still do. It's a great resource for baking with whole grains and less-processed sugars. The handwritten and illustrated pages are charming and the recipes are consistently good.

Like the banana sandwich bread, this starts with a sponge. The original recipe calls for barley malt syrup, but if you don't have an appropriately crunchy health food store near you, you can substitute with half the amount of honey.

For the sponge:
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups lukewarm water
3 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup barley malt syrup (or ¼ cup honey)

Mix sponge ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and then beat at least 100 times. Cover bowl with a damp kitchen towel and allow to double, about 1 hour.

For dough:
2 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
approximately 3 cups whole wheat flour

Beat salt and vinegar into the sponge. Begin stirring in flour about ½ cup at a time until the dough is too stiff to stir. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 20 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or counter.

After 20 minutes, shape your dough into a ball and leave it to rest briefly on counter while you wash out your large mixing bowl with warm water and dry with a clean kitchen towel. Oil the inside of the bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn once so that all sides of the dough are lightly coated in oil. Cover with the damp kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 1`hour.

When dough has doubled, turn it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 20 minutes, adding small amounts of flour only as necessary.

When you have finished kneading, prepare your baking pans or baking sheets. If using bread pans, you may lightly oil the bottom of the pans only. If you oil the sides the bread won't be able to climb the pan as well during rising. Divide your dough in two and shape your loaves. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise until doubled, about 30-45 minutes, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. When loaves have risen, bake for 45-60 minutes.

If using bread pans, remove loaves from pans as soon as possible after removing from oven to prevent soggy crusts. Please wait at least 10 minutes before slicing. It will give you time to soften your butter and break out that jam you've been saving.



  1. Oh, that looks so good. But it would be even easier for me just to bring my jam down the road to your house than make it myself.

    On the other hand, I'm making the astonishing tomato tart tonight.

  2. Yum.

    The cookbook reminds me of the original Moosewood ... that's charming, too, and consistently good. I'll have to tell S. to check this one out, since he's our resident bread-baker.



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