Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bread Baking Babes July Kitchen: Power Bread

As a brand-new Babe, I was excited to begin this wonderful adventure.  Before too long,  I was asked to jump right into the fire and become the July Kitchen of the Month.  That's always been an intimidating proposition.  How does one choose a challenging bread for this special group of bakers?

I perused my bread baking cookbook collection.  I've baked through Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, so I turned to his Whole Grain Breads.  I narrowed my choice to three breads, and, in the end, chose Power Bread because 1.  it sounded delicious; 2. most of the ingredients were already at hand because of previous bread challenges; and 3. it takes three days to make!  Now, there's a challenge.

Trust me, though.  It is an easy bread to make and very delicious.  One of my favorites now, and I've made it twice already.

For the first run-through, I varied slightly from the original recipe, using wheat germ instead of oat bran because that's what I had.  I also used golden raisins, buttermilk, and brown sugar.  Then, I shaped the bread into a loaf, thinking I would use it for toast and sandwiches.  Which I did.  

And, it was so good, that I decided to make it again.

The second time around, I used the wheat germ once again, and also substituted almond milk and coconut sugar.  Could I tell the difference?  Nope.  Clearly, playing with ingredients still results in a really tasty bread.  For shape, I turned the dough into 16 rolls.  These also made good sandwiches, and I could share them with friends as well.  

So, I encourage anyone who wants to join us to do so.  Power Bread is well worth the 3-day effort.

Would you like to be a Bread Baking Buddy?  

Make the Power Bread and share your experience and photos by emailing me a link to your blog or, if you don't have a blog, email me a photo and a brief description.  Send to jahunt22 [at] gmail [dot] com by July 29.  Once you have posted, I will send you a Buddy Badge for baking along with us.  Expect a roundup of all of the BBBuddies posts a few days after the close of submissions.

The Bread Baking Babes are:

Power bread (adapted from Peter Reinhart's "Whole Grain Breads")

71 g (or 2.5 oz or 6.5 Tbsp) raisins
14 g (or 0.5 oz or 1.5 Tbsp) flaxseeds
170 g (or 6 oz or 3/4 cup) water
Mix all pre-soaker ingredients together in a small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temp for 8-24 hours.
All of pre-soaker
170 g (or 6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
14 g (or 0.5 oz or 2 Tbsp) oat bran
4 g (or 0.14 oz or 1/2 tsp) salt
Puree the pre-soaker in a blender (or use a hand-held blender), and mix with the remaining soaker ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir for about a minute, until everything is thoroughly combined and it forms a ball. Cover the bowl and leave at room temp for 12-24 hours (or, refrigerate it for up to 3 days, but let sit at room temp for 2 hours before mixing the final dough). Go ahead and make the biga now.
170 g (or 6 oz or 1 1/3 cups) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
1 g (or 0.03 oz or 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
142 g (or 5 oz or 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp) milk, buttermilk, yogurt, soy milk, or rice milk, at room temp
Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a large bowl. Wet your hands, and knead for 2 min. Then let it rest for 5 min and knead again for 1 min. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 8 hours to 3 days. Two hours before you're ready to mix the final dough, let the biga sit at room temp for 2 hours.
Final dough
All of soaker (at room temp)
All of biga (at room temp)
56.5 g (or 2 oz or 6 Tbsp) sunflower seeds, ground into a flour
56.5 g (or 2 oz or 7 Tbsp) whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
28.5 g (or 1 oz or 3 Tbsp) sesame seeds, whole
4 g (or 0.14 oz or 1/2 tsp) salt
7 g (or 0.25 oz or 2.25 tsp) instant yeast
21 g (or 0.75 oz or 1.5 Tbsp) honey or agave nectar or sugar or brown sugar
Cut the soaker and the biga into 12 pieces each. Grind the sunflower seeds into flour in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder (gently pulse or it will turn into sunflower seed butter, not flour). Mix ground seeds with remaining ingredients, including the soaker and biga pieces. Knead the mixture with wet hands for 2 min, or until everything is thoroughly mixed. Dough should be slightly sticky; if it's very tacky, add more flour; if it's very dry and not sticky, add more water. 
If using a stand mixer, put the pre-dough pieces and all of the other ingredients except the extra flour into the mixer with the paddle attachment or dough hook.  Mix on slow speed for 1 minute to bring the ingredients together into a ball. Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low speed, occasionally scraping down the bowl, for 2-3 minutes, until the pre-doughs become cohesive and combined.  Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.
Dust your counter (or whatever you're using) with flour, and roll the dough around in it. Knead it for 3-4 min. Let the dough rest for 5 min, and then knead for another minute. At this point your dough should pass the windowpane test. If not, knead more until it can pass the test. Then form your dough into a ball, place it into a lightly oiled bowl, roll it around in the oil, and let it sit covered at room temp for 45-60 min (until it's about 1.5 times its original size).
Lightly flour your counter again, and form your dough into either a loaf shape or rolls.  Put the loaf-shaped dough into a lightly oiled 8.5" x 4" loaf pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it sit at room temp for 45-60 min (until it's 1.5 times its original size).  Or, if making rolls, place them on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Preheat the oven and a steam pan (an empty metal pan on the bottom oven rack) to 425. Put bread in the oven, pour 1 cup hot water into steam pan, and reduce oven temp to 350. Bake for 20 min. Then remove steam pan, rotate bread 180 degrees, and bake for another 20-30 min, or until loaf or rolls are brown, have an internal temp of at least 195, and have a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely (at least 1 hour) before serving.