Whole Wheat Mountain Bread

 

Whole wheat mountain bread

After a long break for the holidays, Secret Recipe Club is back up and running. This month, I was assigned to Vintage Kitchen Notes, a blog written by Paula from Buenos Aires, Argentina! Paula is not only incredibly talented in the kitchen, but also in the textiles department, making gorgeous handmade textiles such as placemats, pillow cases, and more! When looking through Paula’s recipe archives, I was having trouble deciding on the perfect dish to make. So many of her recipes are things that we would enjoy, but when it came down to it, I chose this bread recipe because, well, we like bread! While the process is quite lengthy (4.5-5.5 hours), I found the process to be relaxing and incredibly worth the time. Not only did it make my house smell amazing while cooking, but I ended up with 2 whole loaves of delicious bread! This bread is hearty enough for sandwiches, and also perfect for toasting or just snacking! I had planned to put one loaf in the freezer for later use, but we ended up going through both of them before I even had the chance! Thanks, Paula for the delicious recipe!

For the Sponge:
1/2 cup Cold Water
1/4 cup Cornmeal
3/4 cup Boiling Water
1 3/4 teaspoons Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Honey, divided
1/4 cup Warm Water (105-115 degrees F)
4 tablespoons Dry Milk Powder
1/4 cup Wheat Bran
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer, put the cold water and cornmeal. Whisk and let stand 5 minutes. Add boiling water while whisking and let stand another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water with one teaspoon of honey. Stir to dissolve. Let stand a few minutes until foamy. To the bowl of the cornmeal mixture, add the remaining honey along with the dry milk powder, wheat bran, and wheat flour. Add the yeast mixture, mix well with a wooden spoon, cover with plastic wrap, and let it double and be bubbly, about 1 hour. When the sponge has doubled, continue with the dough recipe below.

For the Dough:
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 tablespoon Salt
1 tablespoon Sesame Seed, ground
1 tablespoon Flax Seed, ground (I used ground flax meal)
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2-2 1/4 cups Bread Flour
Additional Cornmeal and Wheat Bran for sprinkling

Gently stir the sponge down with a wooden spoon. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer and add the oil, salt, sesame seed, flax, and whole wheat flour. Attache the dough hook and mix on low speed, adding the bread flour 1/2 cup at a time. When you have added 1 1/2 cups of flour, knead the dough for a minute or two at medium-low speed. Continue to add the bread flour by the tablespoon until the dough is soft but still a bit sticky, and clears the sides of the bowl. It should not be batter-like, but not stiff either. You may need 1/4-1/2 cup more bread flour than stated above. The total kneading time should be 5-7 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl and turn to coat all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 2-3 hours. Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. It should be much less sticky than before. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each one into as tight a ball as possible, then roll them in wheat bran to coat completely. Sprinkle cornmeal onto a baking sheet, then transfer the dough onto the sheet. Cover with a  clean towel and let the dough rise once more until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes-1 hour.  About 20 minutes before baking the bread, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the bread is ready to bake, remove the towel from the baking sheet and place it in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped with your fingers. Turn the baking sheet about halfway through baking to ensure even cooking. Transfer the bread to wire racks to cool. Bread can be frozen wrapped in foil/plastic and placed in a freezer bag for at least 1 month. 

SOURCE: Vintage Kitchen Notes