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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bread Blogathon contd. - Peter Reinhart's Transitional Whole Wheat Bread

Where bread making is concerned, I have these weeks of feverish enthusiasm where I want to try one bread after another, and then all of a sudden everything else seems to take priority and I just take a long break from it ;). So well, a couple of weeks back I was back to this feverish stage, and I tried three different types of bread in quick succession.

Though I had stopped buying books after moving over to the Kindle, where cookbooks are concerned I really miss the lovely colourful photos when viewing on the Kindle. And thanks to the sale on Flipkart, I have started building up a bit of a collection. Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads was a book I picked up at full price a few months ago though, and was a bit overwhelmed by the information he has given on not just the technique but the fundas as well. I took it up once again, determined to get a hang of it this time, and ended up trying this transitional bread, which is 50% WW and 50% APF or Maida. His technique involves a 2 day process, but very little actual involved "doing" time. It's just that little bit of extra preparation to do some steps the previous day, and leave it in the fridge or room temperature as required. It is a looong recipe, so I will not be writing all the minute details here. In case you feel something major is missed out, do let me know in the comments and I'll try to fill in the gaps.

1 3/4 cups Whole Wheat Flour (227 gms)
1/2 tsp salt (4 gms)
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp Milk, Buttermilk, Yogurt, Soy Milk, or Rice Milk (I used buttermilk)

  1. Mix all of the soaker ingredients in a bowl for about 1 minute, until it forms a ball. (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer to mix it). 
  2. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. If you need to leave it for longer, you can put it in the fridge and use within 3 days. If refrigerated, remember to take out a couple of hours before you need to use it.

1 3/4 cups Unbleached Bread Flour (227 gms) - I used Maida and added 1 tbsp gluten to it to substitute for bread flour, next time will be trying plain maida to check the difference.
1/4 tsp Instant Yeast
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Filtered water at room temperature.

  1. Mix all of the biga ingredients in a bown until it forms a ball. Using wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to ensure the ingredients are all well mixed. It should feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes and then knead again with wet hands for 1 minute, it will become smoother but still be tacky.
  2. Transfer dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. Remove from fridge about 2 hours before mixing final dough.

For final dough (Day 2):
Use all of soaker and biga
3 1/2 tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
5/8 tsp Salt
2 1/4 Instant Yeast
2 1/4 tbsp honey or agave nectar (or) 3 tbsp sugar or brown sugar - I used honey
1 tbsp unsalted butter or vegetable oil - I used oil
3 1/2 tbsp extra WW flour for adjustments

  1. Place the soaker on top of the biga (in circular shape) and using a metal pastry scraper, chop into 12 smaller pieces (pizza style). Combine these pieces along with all the other ingredients above (except the extra flour), and knead well for 2 minutes. If using a stand mixer, you can mix with the paddle attachment on slow speed until it forms a ball, and then use the dough hook to knead further. Add more flour or water until the dough is soft and slightly sticky.
  2. Knead until the dough doesn't feel sticky. Leave to rest for 5 minutes, and then knead again until the gluten is strengthened and the windowpane test is passed. Form into a ball and leave in a well oiled bowl to rise in a warm place. In about 45-60 minutes it should rise to 1 1/2 times its original size.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and form into a loaf pan shape. Place into a greased 4 by 8 1/2 inch loaf pan and leaf covered to rise. In 45-60 minutes it should have risen to 1 1/2 times the original size.
  4. Preheat oven to 218 degrees C,  during the second rise. When ready to bake, place loaf pan in oven and lower temperature to 177 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate and then bake for 20-30 minutes until you see a rich brown colour and the internal temperature of the loaf is 91 degrees C (This is a great indication for bread loaves, else it was always tough for me to assess). If you feel the top is burning too soon, cover with aluminium foil and continue baking.
  5. Transfer to cooling rack and cool for at least an hour before serving.

And now you know why I was lazy to take up writing down this recipe on the blog ;). The actual doing though is not all that tough.. the steps go by quite quickly. And yes, here was what the loaf finally looked like :):


  1. it looks lovely and i want to borrow that book... we can exchange some.. before i forget lets take it offline... i didnt know u r so much into breads.. i will have to prick your brain soon lady!

    1. An exchange sounds good, I really can't afford it otherwise :P.. and is bahane to we'll meet!!

      I love the idea of baking something healthy rather than store bought, but have these major ups and downs in my trials :).

  2. It looks so crusty and flavorful! How did it taste?