Basic Whole Wheat Bread

The whole wheat boule is a little tangier and nuttier, more of a sour bread, but it’s still not what I would call a strong-flavored bread. And it’s neither too dark nor too dense. Of course, you can make it as dark as you like by adding a higher ratio of whole wheat flour to white flour or by including other whole grains. But I like it as is—for a basic whole wheat bread, this is about perfect.

The dough is a little wetter than the Country White dough, and it doesn’t rise quite as high which results in a flatter-looking boule. I may be doing something wrong, so if I figure out the problem (if this is even considered a problem) I’ll let you know.

Whole Wheat Boule
Adapted from Breads from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton

2 cups (1 pound) cool water
1 3/4 cups (1 pound and 1 ounce) whole wheat starter
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup
5 2/3 cups (1 pound and 11 ounces) unbleached bread flour
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bran
1 tablespoon sea salt

Mix together the water, starter, syrup, flours, and bran on low speed for 4 minutes. Let rest for 20 minutes. Add the salt and mix for another 6 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, cover well, and let proof for about three hours.

Proof and bake the bread as is outlined in the recipe for the Country White bread. (Dock the bread with a backwards C, followed by a slash that is perpendicular to it and then two slanted slashes on either side of the main perpendicular cut. Confusing, huh? Look at the photo, or else cut it up in whatever way you find pleasing.)

Update, December 8, 2008
The dough is too wet, even when shaping into loaves. When docking, it deflates and does not rise again. Therefore, I have started adding more whole wheat to the dough. The recipe calls for six ounces, but I put in somewhere between 10 and 12 ounces, plus another 1/2 teaspoon of salt.


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