One of the things I wanted to accomplish in 2014 was to get over my fear of whole wheat.
Okay, it may not really be a fear, but I do hesitate to use whole wheat in my everyday baking because I worry about how dry the bread, rolls, etc. will turn out. Whole wheat = dry and tough, right?
I tried brand after brand of whole wheat flours and was never really happy with the results. I did pick up a few tricks along the way... add potato flour or flakes to make the loaf more moist, etc. Sadly, whole wheat just didn't blow my skirt up. In fact, it sent me running straight for the butter knife to make up for the crumb texture.
There had to be more to my baking repertoire than just white, bleached flour.
So I headed back to the basics. All the way back to the wheat berries!
Believe it or not, this tub of wheat came from our local Walmart. This year there will be some wheat grown on the farm, so I am really looking forward to getting my hands on some really fresh stuff. But, this will do for now.
Last year I introduced my WonderMill electric grinder. I am starting to think that he needs a name.
I am excited to announce that I will be posting some of my new recipes on the WonderMill blog over the next two months. I am trying to convert some of my favorite recipes to using freshly ground whole wheat. Now, I know you are thinking, "Aren't there tons of 'whole wheat' recipes already?" Sure. But, the shelf stable whole wheat from the store is not the same as freshly ground. This flour still has the germ, the oils and will go rancid if not refrigerated after grinding.
Of course you want to use freshly ground wheat shortly after grinding. I try to grind enough for a few days and store it in the fridge till I am ready to bake.
Swapping fresh whole wheat works best when swapping for the AP flour (all-purpose) measurement. So far this has worked for me, but I still add in the potato flakes and milk powder to keep it moist.
For this recipe I went ahead and used another gadget to help - my bread machine.
Using the dough cycle is such a smart use of my time. If you have a breadmachine, use it! Of course, I am going to roll this out and bake it in the oven, but I don't need to knead. I have a Zojirushi bread machine and I can't say enough good things about it.
My biggest tip is to check in on it when it is kneading. Make sure it all pulls away from the sides and paddles. If it is sticking then add a little more flour. I also make sure to push any stuck clumps of yeast or flour down into the dough so it all gets incorporated evenly.
After the dough cycle has ended, roll out the dough and prepare the filling. Usuaully I create a butter, brown sugar and cinnamon paste to fill my bread with but this time I tried out King Arthur's cinnamon filling. After adding one egg it became a thicker paste that did a great job of staying put as I rolled the dough.
See how thick that is?
Then I rolled up the dough as usual. Cut in half, it was enough for two of my loaf pans.
I let the bread rise one last time and then gave it a quick egg wash before popping these loaves in the oven. Don't be alarmed by the bright yellow egg wash. It isn't a photoshop blunder, it is actually how vividly yellow my backyard chicken eggs really are. It is amazing how different the color is from store-bought eggs.
My egg wash is just one egg yolk and a splash of water whisked together.
Then off to the oven they went. I added a pan while preheating the oven and then poured in a cup of hot water when the loaves went in to increase the steam and help the bread rise.
So what do you think of the results? Both loaves were gone in under 2 days.
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread
You Will Need:
- 3 c. fresh milled whole wheat flour + more if needed
- 2 tsp. yeast
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. lecithin
- 3 Tbsp. nonfat dry milk powder
- 3 Tbsp. instant potato flakes
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 c. water
- 1/2 c. cinnamon chips
For the Filling:
- 1/2 c. Baker's Cinnamon Filling (available through King Arthur Flour)
- 1 egg
Add the bread ingredients to your bread machine as directed by the owner's manual. My Zojirushi calls for wet ingredients first, then dry and the yeast last. Set your machine for the dough cycle.
When the cycle has completed, mix the filling and set aside. Spray two loaf pans with non-stick spray.
Roll out the dough into a 10 x 20 inch rectangle. Spread the filling in the middle of the dough, leaving a 1/2 of dough around the edges. Roll the dough into a long log, cut in half and place each half in one of the loaf pans. Cover and set aside to rise for at least an hour, up to two hours or until the loaves have expanded and have expanded to the lip of the pans.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees as the bread rises. Place a shallow pie pan in the bottom of the oven.
Pour a cup of warm water into the pie pan when you put the loaves into the oven. Close the door quickly to benefit from the added steam. Bake the loaves for about 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Place the loaf on a cooling rack to cool completely once it is cool enough to handle.
This recipe toasts up wonderfully in the toaster!