Hold the phone…
Shut the front door…
Get outta here…
Yep. I have a new favorite book. The authors of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day came out with a new book, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. This book is FULL of wonderful recipes. The method is the same– mix up your batch of dough, keep it in the fridge, and pull it out, shape it, let it rest, and bake it. Easy peasy. The cool thing is that they also include recipes for flatbreads and pizzas, dessert breads and muffins, and gluten-free loaves. Plus, it still tastes like Artisan Bread!! Hooray! 😀
I followed the recipe for the Whole Wheat Artisan Bread, but cut it in half (2-loaf batch of dough). I weighed my ingredients (because I learned a thing or twelve in those professional baking classes I took), but click on the link above if you need the volumetric measures. I also made my own seed mix and sprinkled it on top before baking.
Before we get to the recipe, we need to talk about whole wheat flour. The long and the short of it is that you can’t just use any old whole wheat flour that you find in the grocery store. The grind is very important.
The difference between white flour and whole wheat flour is that in white flour, the tough outer kernel of the wheat seed has been removed before grinding into flour. With whole wheat flour, the outer kernel remains intact before grinding. If the grinding is not done correctly, the outer kernel pieces can (and will) shred the gluten formed in the dough. The gluten is what gives this bread its structure. It’s very important! So important that the recipe calls for Vital Wheat Gluten (also called Gluten Flour) to be added.
That being said, the brand of flour you use is very important. I only use King Arthur brand whole wheat flour and I can find it in my local supermarket now. I keep one 5-lb bag in the pantry, and stash a spare 5-lb bag in the freezer. Wheat flour has a tendency to go rancid quicker than white flour– that’s why its in the freezer.
I hope you try this recipe, then go out and buy the books. They are worth every single penny!
Whole Wheat Artisan Bread
Adapted from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day
- 360 g whole wheat bread (King Arthur)
- 135 g unbleached all purpose flour
- 8 g active dry yeast
- 8 g sea salt
- 18 g Vital Wheat Gluten (aka gluten flour)
- 450 g room temperature water
- Seed Mix (recipe to follow)
- In a large container, mix all ingredients until the dough is uniform. It will be very wet and sticky. Scoop into a large plastic container for proofing. Put the lid on the container, but leave it partially open. Let the container sit at room temperature for 2 hours, then move it into the fridge, still keeping the top vented for at least 48 hours (this lets the gas created by the yeast escape).
- On baking day, sprinkle the top of the dough with unbleached all purpose flour. Pull have the dough out (it will be wet and sticky), and shape into a ball. Elongate the ball into an oval, and let rest on a sheet of parchment paper for 90 minutes.
- 30 minutes before baking, place a stone on the middle rack in the oven and preheat to 400°F. Place an old pan below the stone on the bottom rack.
- After the 90 minute resting period is up, lightly brush the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle with seed mix (I used about 2 Tbsp). Slash the loaf a few times with a sharp serrated knife, about 1/4″ deep. Boil about 1-1/2 cups of water.
- Slide the parchment paper and the loaf into the oven onto the stone. Immediately pour the boiling water into the pan below the stone and shut the door.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then carefully slide the loaf off the parchment so that the loaf is in direct contact with the stone. Bake another 10 to 15 minutes.
- Let cool at room temperature on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.
Artisan Bread Seed Mix
- 1 Tbsp Poppy Seeds
- 1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds (aka Anise Seeds)
- 2 Tbsp Caraway Seeds
- 2 Tbsp Flax Seeds
- 4 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 6 Tbsp Raw Sunflower Seeds
Combine in a jar until mixed well and store in the freezer.