Sunday, December 2, 2012

It Worked! Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread

After having such great success with Dutch Oven Bread made with white all purpose flour last week, I had to try a loaf made entirely of whole wheat flour.  I got a little fancy and added some seeds... sesame, sunflower, and chia seeds.  These can be left out of course, but I was craving that kind of bread.  I am happy to report the whole wheat version worked!  I added some Vital Wheat Gluten thinking it would make the bread more tender. The crust is nice and crisp and chewy, as I was hoping, and the inside was dense, smooth, and hearty, as I was hoping.  It's good toasted or not toasted, although I think I might prefer it toasted. Today I had a toasted slice with over easy eggs.  Yum!

Whole Wheat Dutch Oven Bread

Dry Ingredients (large bowl):
3 cups whole wheat flour (spoon flour into measuring cup and sweep with a knife to level)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons raw sesame seeds (optional)
4 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds (optional)
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (available at health food stores - I used Bob's Red Mill brand)

Wet Ingredients (small bowl):
1 3/4 cups hot water (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (I used Fleishman's Bread Machine Yeast)

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Stir with a whisk to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the water, sugar and yeast. Gently stir and allow to sit on counter top for about 5 minutes.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest undisturbed for about 4 hours.  I also cover the plastic wrap with a kitchen towel to sort of hold the plastic wrap down.

Dump dough onto a lightly oiled work surface and knead five times.  I am not an expert at "kneading dough"; instead, I sort of fold the dough over on itself about five time and then shape the dough into a ball.  Put dough back into bowl and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for about 30 minutes.

Place covered Dutch Oven in your oven and preheat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  When the oven and Dutch Oven are preheated, carefully remove the lid of the Dutch Oven and place the dough in the pot.  Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes.  Allow the bread to cool in the Dutch Oven for a few minutes and then carefully remove the bread. I find a spatula works well to keep me from burning my hands.  The bread just pops out.  Allow to cool before slicing.

I tried to use my electric knife to cut the bread.  My electric knife came WITH my first bread machine which was a Christmas gift from my sister about 20 years ago.  It wasn't until I tried to cut the bread with the electric knife that it occurred to me that the electric knife is dull and old.  I had crumbs all over the counter top and all over the floor.

This weekend (for the boys) I made another loaf of Dutch Oven Bread with white flour (pictured above).  I seemed to have added a bit more water or a bit less flour this time around but the bread still turned out fine. The dough was just a little wetter in texture.  The loaf did spread out more in the Dutch Oven, but it baked up just fine with a pretty, crusty, crackled crust... this seems to be a forgiving-sort of recipe.  I have another bowl of dough sitting on the counter top. This one is an experiment... I added less yeast and am allowing the dough to rest for 24 hours before baking.  Zach said the bread is good but he suggested next time around I should... "add flavor".  To that I said... "rosemary and garlic?"   Zach said, "No, jalapeno and cheese!"  Now there's a boy who knows what he wants. I love this kind of input.  More about Jalapeno & Cheddar Dutch Oven Bread tomorrow.

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