Country-Style Hearth Loaf – Whole Wheat Bread

Country-Style Hearth Loaf – Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat bread with great taste and texture
Step by step instructions to make great tasting whole-wheat bread


• Whole wheat flour 6 1/4 cups (998g)
• Water 3 cups (690g) at around 75˚F
• Yeast – moist 1 1/4 tsp (7.1g)
Or dry yeast 1 tsp (3.5g)
• Sweet Smart Sweetener 1 T (21g)
• Fine Salt 1 T (21.3g)
• Whole grains/seeds (optional) ¼ cup (flax seeds-40g, Chia, Quinoa, etc.)
• Cold water in spritzer bottle

1. Fermentation of the Poolish – Combine ½ cup water and half the yeast in a medium bowl and let stand 1 minute.
2. Stir with a wooden spoon until the yeast is dissolved.
3. Add ¾ cup flour and stir until consistency is like a thick batter.
4. Continue stirring for 100 strokes or when the strands of gluten come off the spoon when you press the back of the spoon against the bowl.
5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap.
6. Place in a perfect proof area (PPA) – a draft-free, moderately warm area (74-80˚F) until the mixture is bubbly and has increased volume. Fermentation time should be 2-10 hours (the longer the better). Note: The longer the Poolish sits, the fuller the body of the bread will be and the more of a rich, nut-like flavor it will have.
7. After fermentation, add the Sweet Smart and remaining water (2 ½ cups) and yeast (1/2 tsp-dry or ¾ tsp-moist).
8. Break up Poolish well with wooden spoon and stir until it loosens and mixture foams slightly.
9. Optional – combine whole grains and or seeds with remaining flour until uniformly mixed.
10. Add 1 cup of the flour (or flour/seed mix) and stir until well combined. Add the salt and only enough of the remaining flour to make a thick mass that is difficult to stir.
11. Knead dough by hand on a well-floured work surface for 15-17 minutes or use a dough hook attachment on kitchen mixer at low to medium speed. Add flour if the dough is wet and sticky.
12. There are three good ways to tell if the dough is well kneaded:
– Pull a little dough from the mass and let it go. If it springs back quickly, it’s ready.
– Press your finger into the dough and remove it. If the dough springs back, it’s ready.
– Shape the dough into a ball. If it holds its shape and does not sag, it’s ready.
13. Ferment the dough by shaping it into a ball and placing in a well-oiled bowl (olive oil, butter, etc). Cover dough with a clean, damp towel or plastic wrap and place in a PPA until it doubles in volume – 2 to 3 hours.
14. Rest the dough by deflating it (push down in the center and pull up on the sides a couple of times), forming a ball again, then return to the bowl, cover and rest 30 minutes in a PPA.
15. Divide dough and shape into loaves – deflate, knead for about a minute, cut into 2 equal pieces and shape a ball for round loaves or roll pieces on floured surface to prepare for baking pans.
16. Proof the loaves – Line 2 bowls or baskets about 8 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep with well-floured lint-free towels (rub the flour right into the towels) and place the loaves smooth side down in each bowl. Dust top with flour. Cover again with towel or plastic wrap and place in a PPA until volume increases 1 ½ times (1-2 hours).
17. Preheat oven about 1 hour before baking to 450°F with the oven rack in the center of the oven.
18. Gently invert the loaves from the baskets or bowls onto a floured board or surface so they are right side up.
19.Using a very sharp serrated knife or razor blade, score loaves making quick shallow cuts ¼ to ½ inch deep along the surface. Place loaves in baking pans or on a baking sheet for round loaves.
20. Place loaves in oven and spray the inner walls and floor of the oven with cold water from a spritzer bottle (Caution – avoid spraying the oven light directly as it may burst). Spray for several seconds until steam has filled the oven.
21. Close the door to trap the steam and then bake 3 minutes. Repeat and bake until the loaves begin to color (about 20 minutes).
22. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake until loaves are a rich caramel color and the crust is firm (15-20 minutes)
23. To test for doneness, remove loaves, hold upside down, and strike bottoms firmly with finger.
24. If the sound is hollow, the bread is done. If not, bake 5 minutes longer and test again.
25. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes. Cool on a rack so that air can circulate freely around the loaf. Slice with a serrated knife and enjoy!
26. Storage – place in paper bag or bread box for at least 3 days (do not wrap in plastic or refrigerate).
27. Wrap in plastic for freezing and thaw it in the same plastic. Once thawed (2 hours), placed the loaf in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.

Nutrition per slice
Calories 113
Total Fat 1.3g
Carbohydrates 24g
Total Sugars 0.4g
Added Sugars 0.1g
Dietary Fiber 5.2g (Excellent Source)
Protein 4.5g
Sodium 197mg
Vitamin A 114ug (Good Source)
Cholesterol 0mg
Calcium 13mg
Vitamin B1 .55mg (Excellent Source)
Vitamin B2 0.22mg (Good Source)
Vitamin B3 3.3mg (Excellent Source)
Folate 104mg (Excellent Source)
Pantothenic Acid 0.84mg (Good Source)
Phosphorous 123mg (Good Source)
Zinc 1.2mg (Good Source)
Copper .17mg (Good Source)
Manganese 1.0mg (Excellent Source)

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