(Whole?) Wheat Bread

I am not immune to anything. Especially bread.

I’ve been longing for whole wheat bread for years. A homemade one. Without the artificial chemical hardly to pronounce ingredients. The kneading process, with grainy whole wheat – or oat or any kinds of seeds – that sticky rubbed in my hand. The brown beautifully double rise dough after an hour resting. A yeasty heavenly smells comes out from oven. Have I told you that I am engrossed to knead bread?

But agony followed me easily since I hardly find the whole wheat flour. Instead, I found wheat bran easily. And those stuff is quite cheap. Wheat bran is not flour, it is a bran, typically wheat membrane used to add some fibre in food, particularly in bread.

I am not sort of bread master whose capable of explaining the chemistry process behind the gluten miracle, nor a standing mixer equipped to make kneading process faster and better with those fucking pricey machine. Nor a skillful experienced baker who can do those weight lifting France method kneading. I guess I am just a novice baker, like to mess a recipe by substituting this for that only to satisfy my ego and to prove myself that everything can be done in a very limited circumstances.

This 100 percent whole wheat recipe originated from King Arthur Flour, cited it in mba Riana’s blog. And hell yeah, I am not only tweaked, but apparently change almost the whole thing. So if you had whole wheat flour in your hand, go check and stumble in this. Or other way around, follow my recipe to get some almost the same as store-bought whole wheat bread with cheaper and more available ingredients.

3 cup plain flour
1 cup wheat bran
2 ½ tsp instant yeast
¼ cup soy powdered milk
¼ cup castor sugar
1-1  ¼ cup cold water
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ¼ tsp salt

1.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, wheat bran, yeast, milk, sugar and water. Stir until the dough form a ball. Add oil and salt, stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. 
2.  Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. I did everything using electric mixer, from stirring to kneading. This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a plastic wrap or dampened kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise till puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
4.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface. Punch the dough, add the nuts, knead a little until the nuts are distributed evenly. Shape it into an 8 inch log, or two 20 cm logs. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan, or two 20 x 8 cm. Brush the surface with a little water, sprinkle with extra nuts, making sure they stick to the bread. Cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow the bread to rise for about 30 minutes to 1 hour, or till the center has crowned about 1 inch above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 180°C.
5.  Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. Test it with a stick poked into the center of the bread, if it comes out dry, it's dry.
6.  Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

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