Thursday, August 9, 2018

For Cathy R.

Cathy R., the MiL saw your comment about your troubles with baking whole wheat bread in Denver and sent this to me. Perhaps it will be helpful for you.

Whole Wheat Bread

The key to having high altitude bread that has a good texture and doesn't crumble is to use the sponge method.  Doing so allows the flour to absorb more moisture.  This recipe is the one I developed in Albuquerque back in the 1970s.  Albuquerque and Denver are about the same altitude.

3 cups warm water
1 package (or scant tablespoon) of yeast
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup soy flour (optional)
1 1/3 cup dry milk
3 1/2 - 4 cups of whole wheat bread flour (I prefer King Arthur, but any fresh whole wheat flour will be fine).
1/2 cup shortening (melted butter is good)

Mix all these ingredients together and let them rise until they are bubbly and light.  

Then, add 1 Tablespoon of salt.  Nowadays I would add more than that--1 1/2 Tablespoons would probably be better.

Stir in 4 cups of whole wheat flour, one cup at a time.  Knead very well.  Let rise in a large bowl until double in bulk.   Punch down; knead briefly, and form into loaves.  Let rise again in two large bread pans.  Bake at 350 or 375 degrees.

This is the way I made the bread in the 70s--nowadays I make sourdough bread that is not quite so heavy on the nutritional additives (i.e., it's just starter, bread flour, whole wheat flour, some rye flour when I have it, water and salt).  One technique that helps is to let dough rest for 20-30 minutes BEFORE kneading it.  

Anyway, try the sponge method with your favorite recipe to date and see how the bread turns out.  I bet it will be better.  


Cathy R said...

Oh, my gosh, I'm thrilled!!!!! Thank you so much!

I will be trying this as soon as I can, and will report back on my progress.

(I'm a huge fan of wheat germ, so this just makes me extra happy).

Anonymous said...

Finally, I had a chance to make bread this past weekend. Boy, this was really good! Thank you so much for the recipe.

It made two huge loaves; I stirred the sponge down earlier than I might normally because it was going to crawl out of the bowl if I didn't.

Big success! I'm going to also try my alternate 100% whole wheat recipe but adapt it for the sponge method, just to see what happens.