culinary review

Cracked Wheat Loaf

Last Modified: 10/25/08
First Published: 01/09/08
Views: 2145
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Views: 2145
sliced wheat bread
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General Info
Servings: 10
Total Cost: $1.12
Cost Per Serving: $0.11
Total Calories: 1,951
Calories/Serving: 195
Flour, Bread 1/2 Cup 2.13 Ounces $0.06 248
Flour, Whole Wheat 1/2 Cup 35.00 Grams $0.03 130
Yeast, Instant, Fast Rising 3/4 Teaspoons 6.00 Grams $0.21 0
Sugar, White Granulated 1/2 Tablespoon 6.25 Grams $0.01 24
Instant Non Fat Dry Milk 1 Tablespoon 4.36 Grams $0.04 15
Honey 1 Tablespoon 21.00 Grams $0.19 60
Water 1 1/4 Cup 256.51 Grams $0.00 0
Flour, Bread 2 Cups 8.50 Ounces $0.24 990
Sugar, White Granulated 1/2 Tablespoon 6.25 Grams $0.01 24
Yeast, Instant, Fast Rising 1/4 Teaspoon 2.00 Grams $0.07 0
Bulgur, Dry 1/2 Cup 70.00 Grams $0.16 240
Water 1/2 Cup 113.50 Grams $0.00 0
Vegetable Oil 1 Tablespoon 14.00 Grams $0.03 120
Salt, Table 1 3/4 Teaspoon 10.50 Grams $0.02 0
Butter, Unsalted 1 Tablespoon 14.00 Grams $0.06 100

Here comes another adaptation from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s book “The Bread Bible.” This is a wonderfully soft, flavorful and time consuming (!) wheat loaf that makes a perfect sandwich bread. The flavors are balanced, the texture is soft and slightly dense with a subtle crackle of bulgur. It is a very nice bread, however it’s not for the stressed person who wants results fast - be prepared to hang around the kitchen for 3 – 4 hours at least… Unfortunately that makes this bread quite an unreasonable project for most home cooks, which is too bad, because a warm slice of this bread makes up for the time and effort spent.

Dough Starter – Sponge
cracked wheat loaf
½ cup bread flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾ teaspoon instant yeast
½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature

Flour Mixture

2 cups bread flour
½ tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon instant yeast

Bulgur Mixture

½ cup extra course or course bulgur
½ cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 ¾ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon melted butter

wheat bread sponge

Make the sponge by mixing bread flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, sugar, dry milk, honey and water in a large bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes. Set it aside and cover it with plastic wrap.

Make the flour mixture by mixing the bread flour, sugar and instant yeast in a separate bowl. Gently place the flour mixture on top of the sponge, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment 1 to 4 hours (you can place it in the fridge after one hour and leave it overnight if it’s more convenient).

Meanwhile soak the bulgur by placing it in a small bowl and pouring the boiling water on top of it. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour until all the water is absorbed. If not using right away, store the mix in the fridge.

Now, add the bulgur, the oil and the salt to the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the flour is moistened. Knead the dough together in the bowl until it comes together, then knead it on a floured surface for 5 minutes to develop the gluten structure. Cover it with an inverted bowl and let rest for 20 minutes. Knead the dough for another 10 minutes until it’s very smooth. Add some additional flour if the dough is sticky.

You can also do this step using a machine. Then, using a dough hook, mix the mixture on low for about 1 minute, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Next, knead the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. Knead in some flour on the counter if the dough is too sticky.

Now, place the dough in a lightly greased 2-quart bowl (or dough rising container). Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 45 min to 1 1/2 hours, ideally in 75 – 80 degrees. (If your kitchen is colder than that, you can put your oven on warm for a minute, then shut it off and leave the dough inside the oven for the rising period).
Once it’s doubled, scrape it out on a floured surface, give it a business letter turn (stretch thecracked wheat bread dough out and fold it on top of it a couple of times). Place it in the oiled bowl again, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest a second time until it’s doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface, shape it into a loaf and place it in oiled loaf pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled, 45 min to 1 ½ hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (it is recommended that you pre-heat the oven an hour before baking). On the lowest shelf in the oven, place a cast-iron pan or a sheet pan. Above, place a baking stone or a sheet pan.

Brush the top of the dough with some of the melted butter. Slash the bread lengthwise with a sharp knife, make a 1/2 –inch deep cut. Quickly set the bread on the hot stone. Toss ½ cup of ice cubes into the pan beneath and shut the door immediately. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the bread is golden brown and an instant read thermometer in the center reads 210 degrees.

Once the bread is done, remove it from the oven and set it on a wire rack. Brush with remaining melted butter and unmold it. Let cool completely.