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The Daily Bread

>> Friday, April 20, 2007

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I occasionally bake breads when time permits. But looking back, whole-wheat breads have never in my to-do-list. But things changed when I picked up the excellent book The Village Baker. Reading the book from cover to cover, I decide to try out different types of flours and techniques. The first bread I chose is very simple whole-wheat loaf that we now see.

This bread turns out lovely although I know my techniques must be improved greatly. I don’t remember enjoying any whole-wheat loaf this much. It has an enjoyable depth of flavor. And knowing that it is healthy is another bonus. The loaf makes great toast, with a generous amount of good butter and some not-too-sweet jam. Oh, don't forget the vegiemite if you are in Australia! That’s all I need for a good breakfast to start my day.

I am currently very interested in bread-making, so don’t be surprised if bread is something you see more often here :D.

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Whole-wheat Bread

Recipe from The Village Baker

Ingredients (enough for 1 loaf measured 9x5 inch)

The sponge

1 tablespoon active dried yeast

1 cup warm water

¼ cup honey

1/6 cup corn oil

½ tablespoon powder milk

1 cup whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour

The dough

All sponge form the previous step

½ tablespoon salt

½ cup water * - please pay attention in the recipe

2 cups whole-wheat (whole-meal) flour

Glaze (optional) 1 whole egg whisked with 3 tablespoons of cold milk


To make the sponge: Proof the yeast with 1 cup of warm water. When it is creamy, add the rest of the water, honey and oil. Combine milk powder with the flour then add slowly to the yeast mixture, mixing with a wooden spoon. Mix for a few mins until everything is well incorporated. Cover; let it rise until triples in volume, about 2 hours (depending on temperature).

To make the dough: Stir down the starter and sprinkle salt on top of it. Stir the water into the sponge (use cold water if the sponge is warm in summer; use warm water if the sponge is cold in winter). Add handfuls of flour until the dough comes together, reverse a few handful for kneading.

Knead the dough for 5-8 mins, using the rest of the flour to prevent it from sticking.

Let the dough rise, cover, in a bowl until doubled in size.

Take the dough out, punch back and flatten it. Fold it over onto itself, square the edge by pushing the dough an inch or so into the middle. Roll the dough up into a tight log, sealing each turn with the heel of your hand.

Place the loaf into the greased pan and let rise for another 30-40 mins.

Glaze the loaf then baked in the preheated oven 425F for 45-50 mins. Cool on the wire rack.

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Gattina 5:46 PM  

Anh, our brains are on the same wave length... I'm into bread this week (one dough already in fridge)!!!
Your wheat bread looks wonderful, from the interior can tell your shaping done perfectly! Sponge method sounds logical (essential too may be...) for 100% wheat bread. Ok from this minute on, I will be tugging your apron and looking for more bunnies from your magic hat :D

sher 5:55 PM  

I love, love the way that bread looks. I agree with Gattina, the shape is so lovely--as is the crumb. Great job. Keep on baking! :):)

Truffle 7:14 PM  

I'm always impressed by home made bread. Bravo! What a beautiful loaf too!

Lydia 9:21 PM  

I always think that the bread you make with your own hands tastes a hundred times better than what you buy, even if you buy it from the best bakery! Keep baking!!

Asha 9:55 PM  

Looks so good Anh! I love the home made bread.I made English Muffin bread yesterday.YUM!!

Patricia Scarpin 10:51 PM  

Anh, nothing beats homemade bread. I love making bread too and your recipe is definitely a keeper!

Sharmi 11:23 PM  

there is nothing like baking your own bread at home and the aroma in the air ... hmmmmm nice pics how do you manage to take such lovely pics? any tips for me? I bake banana walnut bread. and that gets over as soon as its out of the oven!! will try out this one.


Angie 12:35 AM  

Anh, do keep your breads coming. Need to 'feed' on yours and Gattina's breads, now that I hardly bake breads recently :(

Anh 9:30 AM  

Gattina, your sweet breads look amazing! I love it... :D Yeah, more breads are on the way from my kitchen (finger-cross!

Sher, thanks for your lovely words.

Truffle, thanks. I love home-made breads, too.

Lydia, thank you. I'll keep on baking!

Pat, you are a magnificent baker! I am still learing a lot from you.

Sharmi, thanks sweetie. I am using a Canon DSLR, if this helps? :)

Angie, don't worry. I am sure you can find some time to bake bread soon. *Hug*

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