Monday, November 17, 2008

100% Sprouted Wheat Bread

Proofing box: I use a heating pad underneath a plastic container into which I place the broiler trivet from my toaster oven and boiling water (I don't want the bowl or loaf pans to actually sit in the water). I cover the whole thing with a towel. It takes a few tries to figure out how much water you need to maintain the temperature.

See link for more elaborate instructions.

1340 grams sprouted hard red spring wheat berries
67 grams vital wheat gluten flour
18 grams sea salt
14 grams active dry yeast (you can also use instant yeast, which doesn't require activation in water)
57 grams honey
1/2 cup water
whole wheat flour for kneading

To sprout grains: generously cover wheat berries with water and store in a dark, cool place for  about 36 hours. Change the water every 12 hours. After 36 hours, drain the wheat berries, place in a covered container, and let them sit on the counter for about 3 to 6 hours until they are just beginning to sprout (until you just begin to see a little white tail form). At this point you can process sprouted grains to a fine pulp with fine meat grinder disk of a KitchenAid mixer. You can also store the sprouts in the refrigerator overnight and grind them the following day. I have also ground them right away and then stored the grind overnight in the refrigerator.

Mix all ingredients together in your mixer (if you are using active dry yeast instead of instant, you will have to activate it with some of the water first before putting it in the mixer) with the paddle attachment for a few minutes, then switch to the dough hook. It takes quite a bit of coaxing and scraping and hand-kneading to get the dough to knead correctly on the dough hook (in other words, I have to move it in and out of the bowl and reposition it multiple times before I'm able to get it to sit in a kneading position on the dough hook). Once the mixer really starts to knead it, I begin tapping tiny amounts of whole wheat flour in the side of the bowl whenever needed so as to keep it sliding around in the bowl. My mixer (4.5 quart 1976 vintage Kitchenaid) takes about 20 minutes to develop the gluten properly; I can tell when the dough starts to really develop because it makes a "slapping" sound as it hits the side of the bowl and undergoes a significant texture change. You have to make it several times until you get the feel for what is going on. I can knead the entire batch of bread at once in the 4.5 quart bowl.

When it is well kneaded, form it into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, 45 to 60 minutes in a warm, humid environment (about 80º). Gently degas it and knead for a few minutes to redistribute yeast action, cut in three parts, form into three loaves and place into three lightly greased loaf pans (I use pyrex loaf pans). Let rise again until nearly doubled, about 50 minutes, in a warm, humid environment (about 90º). If you don't want to mess with the proofing box, just let it rise on the counter at room temperature; this seems to work almost as well.

Place in a preheated 425º oven on middle lower rack position, and immediately turn oven down to 350º. Let bake 20 minutes. Rotate loaves 180º and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes or until center of loaf reaches about 205º. Let cool 1 hour before slicing.

Makes three loaves.

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