I haven't posted for a long time but I am going to try to do better. It isn't that I am not trying new recipes, it just seems like a long ways to go and get the camera to take a picture of what I have made. I have become addicted to watching a cooking show on TV and now have some of their magazines and recipe books. My next few posts will be from these. This bread is from the show Cooks Country and also published in a Cooks Illustrated magazine. It is a show on PBS. I know that the recipe seems long and complicated but not really when you get to the end and you taste the best wheat bread in your life. It is so light and soft and moist. So take a little time and try it. I will add a few comments of a few changes that I made to the recipe.
2 cups bread flour
1 cup warm water
½ tsp. instant yeast
3-5 cups whole wheat flour(It calls for 3 and use 3 if you are using store bought whole wheat flour but if you have just ground your own it might take more. You want this to form a stiff ball, when you knead it. They probably used store bought flour and I grind my own flour and found that it needed about 5 cups to get it to this stage.)
½ cup wheat germ
2 cups milk
¼ cup honey (I like my bread a little sweeter so I added a little extra honey, maybe a tablespoon)
4 tsp. table salt
2 Tbl. Instant yeast
6 Tbl. Butter
2 Tbl. Vegetable oil
For the biga: Combine bread flour, water and yeast in large bowl and stir until completely mixed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let stand at room temp. overnight. (8 – 24 hours)
For the soaker: Combine whole wheat flour, wheat germ, and milk in large bowl and stir until it is stiff. Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth. Return to bowl and cover with plastic wrap and put in fridge overnight – same as the biga.
For the dough: Tear soaker apart into 1 inch pieces and place in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Add biga, honey, salt, yeast, butter and oil. Mix on low speed until it starts to mix together. Increase speed and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. At this point I usually have to add an extra cup of bread flour because of the extra honey that I add. Be your own judge of how you want your dough but mine is not real stiff. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and shape into ball and place in greased container. Cover and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
Gently press down on center of dough to deflate. Holding edge of dough with fingertips, fold partially raised dough over itself by gently lifting and folding edge of dough toward middle. Turn bowl 90 degrees and fold again. Do this 6 more times. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.
Spray two bread pans with nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 2 pieces. Pat each piece into an 8 by 17 inch rectangle. With short side facing you, roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping dough tights. Pinch the dough together. Place the seam side down into loaf pan. Repeat with second piece of dough. Cover loaves and allow to rise at room temperature until double in size.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees with baking stone on shelf. Place a pan on the next rack down under the baking stone and fill with boiling water. Place bread pans on baking stone and turn the oven temp. down to 350. Bake the bread for 40-50 minutes until the internal temperature of the bread is 200 degrees. (It is important to use a thermometer. I thought it looked done after about 25 minutes, but when I used a thermometer it really took about 40-50 minutes and the bread was perfect.) Let cool in pans for 5 minutes and then remove to cooling racks.