There are many recipes of whole wheat breads online. What makes my recipe special? Nothing actually, I’m just sharing my story of bread baking here. What I learnt with my bread baking. It might be useful to a complete newbie to bread baking.
I started my bread baking journey less than two months back. I have been baking breads once to twice a week since then. Every bread I baked I learnt something new and my skills improved. I have learnt one very important thing in bread baking that is the only golden rule to success is practise. Reading hundred different blogs and trying out various recipes won’t really help. I have not done much of research on bread baking before starting out, I learnt with my mistakes and whenever I had doubts I checked out few of the techniques on youtube. The more you practise the more you get better at it. And once you learn the art and science of bread baking you will know how simple it actually is! Then it will become a regular affair like how we make our chappati dough daily, it is that simple. It is no rocket science believe me.
I have been baking cakes for many years but always intimated by the idea of bread baking. It was my dream to bake home made bread and serve my family. When I baked my first bread it was such a joyous moment, like some kinda great achievement.
Being a microbiologist I understand the fundamental biological process involved in bread baking better. Though I’m not going to give gyaan on that right now because I’ll end up giving a huge lecture on the whole process..ah, getting reminded of my teaching days. But you can Google and find out the basic science because that will help you in handling the dough better.
I have not baked a full maida bread till now. It is better to start with maida bread but I started with semolina bread then half maida and half wheat. Then I slowly reduced the maida and now I bake pretty good, light and awesome whole wheat bread. I do use some amount of semolina at times along with wheat especially in my stuffed breads for a lovely nutty texture and flavor. You can have a look at few of them chicken salami stuffed pizza swirl bread, beetroot bread.
- Organic Whole wheat flour 282g/2 cups
- Warm Milk and water 1 plus 1/4 cup approx (in the ratio 1:1)
- Olive oil 1/8 cup (I prefer to use Olive oil as it gives flavor to the bread, you can use any vegetable oil)
- Salt 1 teaspoon
- Sugar 2 tablespoon
- Instant yeast 1/2 teaspoon ( I prefer baking breads with instant yeast and I baked this bread in peak summer, please adjust the quantity of yeast accordingly. Refer notes)
- Milk powder 1/4 cup or fresh cream
I have used the autolyse method to bake my bread. It is the most simple method with great results. I have not tried any other method yet because I’m really happy with the results.
Brief technicalities about the method, autolyse means self destruction. So here we allow breakdown of enzymes in the flour to occur on its own before kneading. This will enhance the flavor and texture of the bread and also reduce the kneading time.
- To the flour, add sugar, milk powder, yeast and slowly add water to form a rough dough. Reserve some amount of the flour. Keep this covered for 20-30 minutes.
- To the autolysed dough add salt, rest of the flour and a tablespoon of oil.
- Transfer the dough to kitchen counter or on a large chopping board and start kneading by the stretch and pull method (check YouTube video)
- Add rest of the oil as you knead. Knead for 15-20 minutes till the dough bounces back when you poke with your finger. I also do a window pane test, that’s the best test to determine if you’ve kneaded your dough enough. Though we don’t get very good window pane test results with whole wheat bread yet it does help in knowing if the your bread has developed enough gluten. You can read more about the window pane test here
- Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cling wrap and keep it covered for the first proofing i.e. till it doubles in volume. Keep in a warm place for the proofing to take place faster.
- Take the dough and punch out the air. Knead it again for a minute.
- Roll it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin.
- Then roll it in tight without leaving gap and seam the sides.
- Roll it till the end and seam the bottom. Seam it well so that it doesn’t open up during baking. Check out YouTube video on how to roll out bread dough.
- Now keep the dough in a well oiled bread tin. Cling wrap it for the second proofing.
- Brush the top of the dough with milk to prevent it from drying up while baking.
- Bake it in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Bake it according to your oven.
- After 25 minutes brush the top with some more milk and bake for 5 minutes for a lovely golden top.
- Once it’s baked, take out the bread rub some butter on the crust to make it soft.
- Transfer the bread on to a wire rack within 2 minutes of taking the bread out. If you keep the bread longer in the tin it gets soggy.
- Cover the bread with a damp cloth and let it come to room temperature before slicing.
- Use water and milk mixture to form the dough as required. Do not add it all together.
- Time of proofing varies depends on weather, less time during summer and more in winter. Approximately 1-2 hours for the first proofing.
- Amount of yeast required also depends on weather, less in summer and more in winter.
- Do not over proof, over proofing leads to denser breads.
- I keep for about half an hour for second proofing and rest of the rise takes place well in the oven while baking.
- For doneness tap the top of the bread, if it sounds follow then it’s done. I bake in microwave convection oven, this was the time and temperature taken for this size of bread. You have to check time and temperature with your oven.
- To get best slices cling wrap the bread in 3 to 4 layers and refrigerate it for 5-6 hours and then cut.
- Home baked bread stays good in fridge for up to 3 days.
- Cling wrap it in layers to prevent from drying up.
- Home baked breads dry up soon so storing them well is important to maintain the texture.
The rest you will learn when you bake your loaf. Happy baking!