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Wheat bran bread with a poolish

October 7, 2012

This bread started out with no set plan. The  sure thing was that I use up  ingrediants that have been sitting in the kitchen too long and that the bread begin with a poolish. The poolish would buy me time in figuring out what I was going to bake.  Since I also had errands to do, I had to keep the process flexible.  I would extend the fermentation period to at least a day so that I wouldn’t be stuck in the house taking care of the dough.  The poolish was mixed about 6 am,  refrigerated at 12 noon, then taken out at 5pm. During that time I decided on using wheat bran as a key ingrediant. I was leafing through  Beth Hensberger’s “Baking Bread, Old and New Traditions” and came across a recipe  that was a variation of her “Italian Country Bread”.  One of the ingrediants was wheat bran, something I had that needed to be used up. Wheat bran can get rancid in time due to oil in its makeup. Hensberger’s recipe looked good but I was going to work out something different. I mixed the final dough at 6:15 pm.  By that time I felt the baking was going to take me too late in the evening so I refrigerated it for an overnight fermentation.  I baked it the following morning.  The wheat bran and long fermented dough made for a slightly nutty and flavorful taste. It didn’t have the bitter taste that wheat bran can impart on bread. The following recipe has less fermentation time but perhaps easier to adapt to a schedule.

Poolish (from P. Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”)  :

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

3/4 cup water

Stir together all ingrediants until all the flour is hydrated.  It should look like thick pancake batter.  Cover the bowl with plastic and let it sit at room temperature for about 3-4 hours until it gets bubbly.

Final dough:

All the poolish

2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups wheat bran

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons honey

about 3/4 cup water

1. The day before making the bread make the poolish and let it ferment at room temperature as directed.  The poolish is ready to use after  it reaches the bubbly stage if you would rather proceed with the recipe. Otherwise let it ferment overnight in the refrigerator for further development.

2. The next day take out the poolish to let it come to room temperature,  about 2 hours.  After the poolish comes to room temp mix together all dry ingrediants in a mixing bowl. Add the honey and mix.  Add the poolish to mix in.  The poolish is hard to manage so don’t worry about getting it incorporated. Add a little less than 3/4 cup of the  water and mix together with a spoon until it is more or less a coherent mass.

3. Using the hook attachment of your mixer, knead for about 5-6 minutes until you get good gluten development. Add more water to adjust if needed to make a slightly tacky dough.

4. Take the dough out of the bowl and form into a round shape. Place it an oiled bowl and brush the dough with some of the oil.  Cover with platic and let it rise to double in size, about 1 hour.

5.  Lightly degas the dough by putting it out onto your work surface. With your pastry cutter or knife divide into two, form into tight rounds or batards,  and place them on a greased baking sheet.  Preheat your oven to 475 degrees with a baking stone if using.  Let the loaves proof until almost doubled, about 45 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

6. When ready to bake, lightly sprinkle the loaves with flour and then slash the  dough as desired about 1/4 inch deep.

7. Place the loaves in the oven, lower the temperature to 400 dgrees,  and bake about 30-40 minutes. The bread should read 200 degrees when done.

8. Let the loaves cool completely on a wire rack.

The next day the bread had improved with more intense and developed flavor.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2013 1:08 am

    you wouldn’t have to twist my arm to try your bread!

  2. March 22, 2013 10:06 am

    I usually have to give bread away since I bake often and the freezer gets full. Even the neighborhood birds get a share!

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