Friday, December 19, 2008

Soaked Wheat Bread

There are two ways that I make soaked bread. I'll put the "easier" version first, and then the die-hard healthy no-white-flour version at the bottom! ;-)

Soaked Wheat Bread

Step One:
Mix all together, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours:
  • 4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 c. honey
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 c. freshly milled whole wheat flour (I use Prairie Gold or Hard White, sometimes adding in some Hard Red as well. Hard Red Wheat is strongly flavored and dense, which adds a nice nutty touch to the bread but you don't want to use it exclusively. It should be mixed half-and-half with Hard White Wheat.)

Step Two: Once your dough has set for 12-24 hours, "proof" your yeast:
  • 3 Tblsp active dry yeast
  • a bit of honey
  • 1/3 c. or so of very warm water (but not hot)
  • 1/4-1/2 c. unbleached white flour
Once it begins to bubble up, pour into dough and mix together well. This is easiest if you have a powerful mixer that can knead bread, but you can do it in a large bowl with your hands as well.

Your dough will probably be pretty sticky at this point, so add a cup or two of unbleached flour until it is a good consistency.

Put your dough aside and let it rise until doubled. Because your dough isn't warm, it will take several hours. To speed up the process you can put it in a warm room, near the fireplace or a heater, etc.

Once the dough has risen, shape it into loaves or rolls, let rise again and then bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 minutes (rolls) or 35-45 minutes (loaves).

Alright, now for the die-hard health-nut no-white-flour version!

~ In Step One, instead of 12 cups of flour, add more like 15 - enough flour to make a good dough.

~ In Step Two, your it will be very stiff at this point, and hard to mix the yeast in. So you will want to score the top of the dough with a knife, and then pour the yeast mixture on it and let it absorb for a few minutes. Then spend several minutes with your hands working it in. I suppose a strong mixer with dough hooks would do the job quite nicely, but I never have done it that way.

You shouldn't have to add any more flour after step 1, so all of your flour will be soaked.

This is how I have always made it in the past, but when I made bread yesterday I decided to try using a few cups of unbleached flour and it was so much easier! ;-) White flour from the store doesn't need to be soaked because it doesn't have bran in it, which is where the phytic acid is.

Apparently my experiment was a success: my brother took a bite of bread and said "Who made this bread? It's GOOD!"

Sorry I don't have pictures. My camera batteries were dead. ;-(

I'd love to hear from you: Is there another way y'all make soaked bread? I'm still learning about it and would love to hear your ideas!


Sandra said...

I have a friend who makes soaked bread and it doesn't rise very much at all. Can you post a picture of your bread? I have been making my own wheat bread for over 3 years now but have never soaked it because it is so dense.

The Milkmaid said...

My camera wasn't working when I baked bread last time, and of course the bread's all gone now. ;-) I'll try to remember to take a picture when I bake next - probably Thursday. Thanks for the reminder!