Whole Wheat Boule
I enjoy fancy breads, replete with various grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices. But, there’s something to be said for returning to the basics and getting rids of the frills. The other day I was wanting a loaf of a simple, but well-done sourdough. Something with good flavor, crumb, and crust, but no extra additions to hide the inherent quality of the loaf. Here is a recipe that I adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Breads from the La Brea Bakery for a whole wheat boule that does just that. It focuses on bringing out the wheaty flavor while keeping the crumb light. The ingredients are fairly basic. Its preparation takes time, as all good sourdoughs do, but it is certainly worth it in the end. I cannot think of much more to say about this loaf. It is good and simple and satisfying and that is enough.
Whole Wheat Boule
Yield: ~1700 g (two medium-sized boules)
454 g water
482 g whole wheat starter (150% hydration)
25 g barley malt syrup
284 g whole wheat flour
411 g all-purpose flour
17 g wheat bran
17 g fine sea salt
Place water, whole-wheat starter, and malt syrup in a large bowl. Stir until the starter is loosened and the malt syrup is dissolved. Add the flours and wheat bran to this mixture. Stir/knead until well-combined and all of the flour is hydrated. Let rest or autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add the salt and continue kneading until the gluten in the dough has developed enough to pass the window pane test. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a well-oiled container, and cover.
Allow to ferment for 3-4 hours with a fold at every hour. By the last hour the dough should double in volume.
After the bulk fermentation, uncover the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut it into two equal pieces and slap each piece against the work surface a few time to release the gas bubbles that have developed. Tuck the edges under each piece, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
Uncover the dough and shape the each piece into a boule. Place the boules, seam side up, into flour proofing baskets or banettons. Tightly cover the proofing baskets in with plastic and let the dough proof in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and take off the plastic wrap. The dough should have filled the bottom of each basket, but will not have risen very much. Cover the baskets and let the dough continue to proof at room temperature for 3-4 hours or until the dough reaches an internal temperature of 62 F.
Preheat the oven to 475 F one hour before baking. Prepare with a baking stone and steam pan. Invert the loaves onto a peel, score them, and place them in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes with steam and another 20-25 minutes without steam. Turn off the oven, crack the door, and leave loaves in for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into.
I’m most pleased to be part of this week’s YeastSpotting, as well. Make sure to check out the other delicious yeasted treats there!