So, I'm really excited to be starting a project with King Arthur Flour. I'm looking forward to mastering the art of baking bread as well as to incorporating more whole grains into my family's diet. For this project, I will be using King Arthur Flour products and will be baking from Whole Grain Baking. The featured recipe called for King Arthur whole wheat flour.
To start the project, I thought I would choose a recipe that promised simplicity with its very title: The Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever. One of the first things I noticed when I started reading through the cookbook was the use of orange juice in many of the recipes. The bakers at KAF "discovered that the flavor of orange juice tempers the somewhat bitter flavor of whole wheat, without adding any orange flavor of its own." And, while they do say you can substitute water for the juice, I wanted to follow their suggestion and use the orange juice.
The Easiest 100% Whole Wheat Bread Ever
from Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour
1-1/4 cups (10 oz.) lukewarm water
1/4 cup (2 oz.) orange juice
3 tbsp. (2-1/4 oz.) molasses
3 cups (12 oz.) traditional whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (1 oz.) nonfat dry milk
1-1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast
Thoroughly grease an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch pan. It's important to grease the pan well, as this bread tends to stick if you don't.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. Beat the mixture vigorously for about 3 minutes; an electric mixer on medium-high speed works well here. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.
Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover, and let the dough rise for 1 hour; it won't fill the pan. It also won't dome as it rises, but will remain flat across the top. While the batter is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Uncover and bake the bread for about 45 minutes, tenting it with foil after 20 minutes. The bread is done when it's golden brown on top and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 190 degrees. Remove it from the oven, and after 5 minutes use a table knife to loosen the edges, then turn it out onto a rack. Brush with melted butter, if desired; this will keep the crust soft. Cool the bread for 30 minutes before slicing.
Results: This bread was definitely easy to prepare. The whole wheat flour was silky and lump-free. All of the ingredients went into the bowl at one time and I used a mixer to blend it all. There was no kneading. I just placed it in the greased loaf pan. One of the things that I found most helpful when I read the directions is that the recipe described exactly what the rising bread would look like: "It also won't dome as it rises, but will remain flat across the top." As a beginning bread-baker, I appreciated that detail. I knew my bread was on the right track.
But, most importantly, how did it taste? The molasses lent a hint of sweetness. The orange juice worked in eliminating any bitterness. The flavor reminded me of one of my favorite restaurant breads, Outback Steakhouse, but the texture was much denser and heartier. Overall, the bread tasted delicious and I had to give the loaf to my parents to avoid eating the entire thing.
For those of you who want to take the baking journey with me, there is help for us all. King Arthur Flour has a Baking Hotline with wonderful experts who can help us if we have recipe questions or get stuck with something. Call (800.827.6836), email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or even chat live online (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/)! Let's enjoy the bread journey together!
Disclaimer: King Arthur Flour provided me with a copy of the cookbook and the flour, but the opinion expressed here is my own.