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Friday, February 18, 2011

Cracked Wheat Bread I

Or, Bulgur Wheat Bread

I am late in posting this bread. This was made last weekend and it's almost gone now. After a long time, I made a bread from Laurel Robertson's book, 'The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book'. The recipe is called Cracked Wheat Bread I, and gives a choice between cracked wheat or bulgur (sometimes also spelled bulghur) with slightly different instructions on how to prepare the grains for the dough. Cracked wheat is what it says, cracked raw wheat grains, while bulgur is steamed wheat that is later cracked / chopped. It takes lesser time to cook than cracked wheat; usually boiling water is poured over it, covered and left for about 20 minutes to soften the grains.

This bread is prepared within a few hours from start to finish, unlike Reinhart's overnight breads. What is does require is a lot of kneading to develop gluten and flavor. Besides the usual ingredients, this bread uses bulgur, molasses and buttermilk. The recipe calls for whole wheat bread flour. I have never seen such flour in the stores, so I added some vital wheat gluten to my regular whole wheat flour and that worked well.

The first stage
Bulgur and molasses are cooked a bit in a small pan. Honey and warm buttermilk are mixed in a bowl and active dry yeast is  proofed in warm water in a bowl. Salt and vital wheat gluten are added to the whole wheat flour.
The ingredients

Ready for the first mixing

The buttermilk+honey and yeast+water are mixed
and the dough is kneaded for about 8 minutes

The first rise, until a wet finger poked in creates
a hole that doesn't fill in or the dough sighs

The second stage
Butter is spread on the kneading surface, the dough is flattened and the bulgur+molasses mixture is added. This kneading stage also takes about 8 to 10 minutes.

Ready for the second stage

Blending this was actually fun.
Because of the butter, the dough didn't stick to my fingers

Ready for a second rise

The second rise is done

Resting, shaping and proofing
After the second rise, the dough is rounded and rested for 15 minutes. I followed the shaping instructions described in the book (see picture below)

Rounding and resting

Shaped and ready for proofing

Proofed nicely

The book highly recommended slashing the dough,
so I gave it a shot and this tiny knife worked pretty well.

The bread
The slashes in the dough, expanded just a little bit but looked pretty. After the bread was out I dabbed the surface with a bit of butter as recommended in the book.

Out of the oven, after a butter glaze

Sliced really well.

Loved the uniform crumb

This bread made wonderful sandwiches. The thin slices meant that the sandwich didn't feel carb heavy. We enjoyed sandwiches with tomatoes, spinach and cheese melted on roasted peppers. A great bread for sandwiches after a long time.

Yummy lunch.

Date: Feb 12, 2011
Recipe: Cracked Wheat Bread I from Laurel Robertson's book, 'The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book'

Flours: Whole wheat
Bread specific ingredients: Bulgur, molasses, buttermilk
Sweetener used: Molasses and honey
Liquid: Buttermilk and water

First rise time: 95 minutes
Second rise time: <Don't remember> followed by 15 minutes of rounding and rest.
Proofing time: <Don't remember>
Comments: Added 1½ tsp vital wheat gluten to make 'whole wheat bread flour'. When first mixing bulgur in, it felt like it will all get enclosed in the dough, but as I kneaded, it came to the surface and after 8-10 minutes of kneading, the bulgur and butter had blended in well. Dough didn't rip during proofing (book said it might, if it wasn't kneaded well). Bread slashed very well with the small knife. Feel a little more confident about slashing future breads. Crumb was very nicely uniform. Best part was how thinly the bread could be sliced and still hold well for sandwiches.

In the spirit of posting pictures, I thought I'd also post pictures of granola that I made the same day, using this recipe from Joy of Baking. The only change I usually make to this recipe is use a little more wheat germ and add a tablespoon of water. Granola is very quick to put together and makes a nutritious snack. (Of course, it is very easy to over-snack on it as well). This granola was baked for about 30 minutes, stirring twice along the way at 10 minute intervals.

Ingredients mixed and ready for the oven.

Out of the oven

Basic granola for RH and dried fruits added for me.


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