Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Easy, Tasty Cracked Wheat Bread

I acquired a 1.5 lb bag of cracked wheat a few months back from Weisenberger Mills, in order to bake this Whole Wheat bread with Mellow Bakers.  I wasn't too worried about using the bag of cracked wheat up, but now when I open my fridge and see that bag, it looks like alot of cracked wheat.  I couldn't find cracked wheat as an ingredient in any recipes from the other bread books I own, so I jumped on the internet yesterday peeking at various blogs and other websites.  I didn't have to look too far before I found one on allrecipes.com that looked promising.  I decided to have a go at it yesterday and it turned out a tender, nutty, slightly sweet little loaf that is perfect for sandwiches, (especially my lunchtime PB&J's), and toast.  Hubby's out of town at the moment, but he'll be back tomorrow for me to see how he likes it.

I changed the recipe just a little, corrected the pan size called for, and adapted the directions to how I like to make my loaves, and though I'm no cracked wheat bread expert,  I was really happy with the results.

Cracked Wheat Bread
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup cracked wheat
1 1/8 tsp + a pinch of instant yeast
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp warm water
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp flax seed, ground
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour + an additional 1/4-1/2 cup

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Stir in cracked wheat and simmer for 10 minutes; let cool to lukewarm.

Place the cracked wheat mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer, and add the butter, salt, molasses, honey, yeast, ground flax seed, whole wheat flour and 1 cup bread flour.

I put the remaining water, and the milk in a saucepan and heated it to ~ 95° and then poured it over the rest of the ingredients already in the stand mixer bowl.  I let all the ingredients sit undisturbed for maybe 10 minutes and then with the paddle attachment I mixed the ingredients for 2 1/2 - 3 minutes on low speed until the dough came together in a shaggy ball.  I added ~ 1/4 cup of additional bread flour as the dough was still a little too wet.  I stopped the mixer, switched to the dough hook and continued mixing on medium-low for about 7-8 minutes, making minor adjustments of added flour.  I turned the dough out onto my lightly floured silicone mat, and kneaded the dough for a couple more minutes until it was soft, supple and no longer sticky.  I lightly oiled a large bowl, rolled the dough around just a little to barely coat it with oil, placed it in the bowl and covered with plastic wrap.

Upstairs the dough went to sit on my dryer, while I dried a load of clothes.  It was cold in the house, so I figured it couldn't hurt.  I let the dough rise until approximately doubled, which took 1 1/2 hours.  I shaped the dough into a loaf, placed in a greased 4 1/2 by 8-inch loaf pan (the recipe incorrectly called for a  9 by 5 pan), spritzed the top of the loaf with a bit of cooking spray and loosely covered with plastic wrap.
Let rise until dough domes at least an inch above the rim of the pan.  It took my loaf ~ 1 hour and 15 minutes for this to happen.  I pressed my finger into the loaf to test to see if it was ready to bake and the indent remained, so into the oven it went.  I had preheated my oven to about 360°.  I baked 20 minutes and rotated the pan 180°, and then baked another 10 minutes until my thermometer read 188-189°.

I immediately turned the loaf out of its pan and let it cool briefly on its side, then turned it upright and ran a stick of butter over the top.

Next days PB&J was mighty yummy!!

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