Saturday, December 3, 2016

Honey n oats whole wheat bread

If you are regular to my blog you know how much I enjoy baking, specially breads. Proofing, mixing, rising, baking, the entire process makes me feel relaxed. This time I baked a whole wheat bread. You may have heard baking a whole wheat bread is tougher than a baking white flour bread. What's so different about whole wheat flour and white flour. The answer lies in a single word 'gluten', to understand the flour one should understand what gluten is.

Gluten is a protein present in wheat flour. When water is added to flour this elastic stretchy protein is formed. While making bread when we add water to flour and mix it and knead it, long stretchy elongated network of gluten is formed giving the framework for the dough. We use yeast to ferment the dough, and gluten helps to rise the dough and keeps the shape while baking the dough in the oven. Some flour have higher amount of gluten and some have low. For soft, light airy bread gluten is needed. Percentage of gluten present in a type of flour makes it behave differently. Whole wheat flour contains much less gluten than white flour making the bread dense. The simple solution is to add some white flour along with whole wheat flour to make a less dense bread. If you are new to bread making, first try to replace a cup of white flour with whole wheat flour, then gradually increase the amount of whole wheat flour as you practice baking.

Here I have used 1:1 ratio of whole wheat to white flour and also have added instant oats for extra fiber and texture to the bread. I also added honey for sweetness. Honey balances the taste of whole wheat flour. I have used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer for mixing, kneading, You can do it by hand as well. But for sure the stand mixer makes the work really easy.

Things needed to make honey and oats whole wheat bread:

(Makes one loaf)
  • Whole wheat flour: 1 and 1/2 cup
  • White flour (or bread flour): 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Oats (instant or rolled): 1/4 cup + more to sprinkle on top
  • Active dry Yeast: 2 and 1/4 tsp
  • Sugar: a pinch
  • Warm water: 1/4 cup
  • Milk: 1 cup
  • Butter: 2 tbsp
  • Salt: 1 tsp
  • Honey: 1/4 cup
  • Egg white for egg wash (optional)

Steps of making honey n oats whole wheat bread:

1. Proof the yeast, take warm water, pinch of sugar in the mixing bowl of the stand mixer and add the yeast. Mix it and wait for 5-6 min, if the yeast is alive it will bubble up forming forth. If you do not see any bubble discard the yeast use a fresh bottle of yeast.

2. Add flour, oats, milk (warm), butter (melted), salt and honey in the stand mixer and mix over low speed. As the dough comes together mix over high speed for 3-4 minutes.

3. Cover the the stand mixer with cling film and place it on a warm draft free place for 1-2 hrs or till the dough doubles in volume.

4. As the dough doubles, prepare the work surface by dusting it lightly with flour. Drop the dough on the work surface and flatten the dough gently to form a rectangle of 9 inch by 12 inch.

5. Now fold the bottom third up, just like we fold a letter, then fold the top third down so it overlaps the other part, now pinch to seal the top and bottom layers and also the sides, now it should be a rectangle of 9 by 4 inches. Don't worry if the shape is not perfect, make sure you pinch all the sides to seal them properly.

6. Place the shaped dough in a grease or parchment paper lined loaf pan. Place the dough seam side down.

7. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 30 min.

8. While the dough is rising pre-heat the oven to 200 C or 400 F.

9. Brush the top with egg wash (egg white plus water) if using, sprinkle some oats on top. Make a slash on the top with a serrated knife. I did three diagonal slashes.

10. Place the loaf pan on the middle of the oven, reduce the heat to 180 C or 375 F and bake for 20-25 min.

11. Take it out and let it cool down on a wire rack, slice only after the loaf is at room temperature.

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