Tuesday, October 2, 2012

batter whole-wheat bread.

Maybe I'm the only person who spends an inordinate amount of time each day thinking about bread, but as of late I've given it a lot of thought, in particular whole wheat sandwich bread.  The thing is, many of the supermarket breads are huge, I'm talking slices the size of my head and it just seems unnecessary (maybe I don't want a sandwich the size of my head) are they are loaded with all sorts of ridiculous sounding ingredients.  All of these thoughts are what led me to analyze my bread consumption and what ultimately led me to my trusty cookbooks to search for an alternative (because there always has to be an alternative).  Low and behold, I found it in Bernard Clayton's bread cookbook (shocking I know).  This is the simplest bread I have ever made.  If you always thought baking bread was scary, this is the bread to try since there is no kneading involved.  The bread that emerges from the over is super tender with a lovely nutty taste; it's safe to say it's the ideal sandwich bread.

Batter Whole-Wheat Bread
Recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.

I halved the original recipe since I would rather have fresh bread more often but you can double it and freeze a loaf.  My ideal sandwich for this bread involves thinly sliced ham, Jarlesburg cheese, and some honey mustard, but I assure you just about any combination is delicious (and it also makes for a rather lovely peanut butter and jelly!) 

Makes one loaf

3 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 package dry yeast
1 ¾ cups hot water (120 - 130 degrees)

In a large mixing bowl measure the flour and stir in the sugar, salt, and yeast.  Pour in the hot water and stir 50 strokes to blend.  This will be a soft batter, not to be kneaded. 

Using a spatula, scoop the batter into a greased loaf pan (about 8x4).  The batter will fill the pan about two-thirds full.  Wet your fingertips and push the batter into the corners, and to smooth. 

Cover with wax paper or plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to double in volume - but no more - about 30 minutes. (Don't let it rise longer or the batter will fall during baking!)

Preheat the over to 400 degrees 20 minutes before baking.  Bake in a hot oven for about 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees for an additional 45 minutes or until the loaves test done (can test by inserting a metal skewer and if it comes out clean it's good). 

Remove the bread from the oven, remove bread from the pans, and let cool on a wire rack before serving. 

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