Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This is What Hope Looks Like

The whole wheat adventure continues. Although my previous attempts at making a 100% whole wheat loaf were successful, in the sense that the boy and guests ate it and liked it, I still was unsatisfied with the results. Part of my discontent stemmed from comparing my loaves to my homemade white wheat pain au levains - it's my showstopper bread. These dense, crumbly whole wheat breads were not inspiring or breathtaking. They were simply OK.

Some research showed that Peter Reinhart has already taking whole wheat bread to task, his motto being that first and foremost, whole wheat bread needs to taste good. Sure, there are a reasons, that we should be incorporating whole grains into our diets, but if it doesn't taste good, these grains won't effortlessly slip into our everyday eating habits. I checked out Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor from my library, and my first attempt with these new techniques is pictured at the top of this post. It's hope in the form of a wet, sticky mass of dough. Dough that was put together in a way completely different from my pain au levains. While kneading it, I could tell that the gluten was developing better than my previous attempts, which is making me wish I added the instant yeast Reinhart recommended. However, I wanted only use my sourdough starter as a leavener, so I have another 4 hours to hurry up and wait.

This dough is so wet in comparison to my other bread doughs - all the water for this dough was added the night before in the form of a starter and a soaker. I had to keep a bowl of water next to me while kneading, so I could dip my hands in and prevent the kneaded dough from sticking to me like glue.

Reinhart's book is not for the bread novice. You need to read three chapters explaining his techniques, discussing the chemical reactions in bread and the anatomy of a wheat kernel, before you get to the recipes. If you can do it, he promises whole wheat bread with full flavor and a chewy crumb. Here's hoping!


  1. That looks so good! Warm and dense and with some butter . . . oh yeah, baby.

  2. i can't wait to see how it turns out! i was just thinking about when we could all get together to do some canning/preserving, and i just ran out of flour too. i'm going to do some research at berkeley bowl before buying another bag.

  3. Finally a picture of what my inside looks like. So filled with hope, like you say. Now I have a face, to the name. A nice big blob of dough. :) Hope doesn't look like what I imagined- but then again hoping in things are like imagining what they don't look like in the first place. ;)



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