Sunday, 29 July 2018

Homemade No Knead Crusty Whole Wheat Bread


Who doesn't love warm, crusty homemade bread? This No-Knead Crusty Bread is my absolute favorite, and this riff substitutes whole wheat flour for all-purpose to create a loaf that's crusty, delicious — and extra-nutritious!

The one thing I hear from most people who have never made bread before is that it’s not worth the effort.

Let me ask ya something. Have you ever experienced a bite of fresh homemade bread? Have you ever experienced the wonderful scent that comes from deep within the kitchen while the bread is baking?

No? Well, my friends, if you’ve never made bread at home before, you don’t know what you’re missing out on and when the effort is hardly anything, I’d say the worth of making bread at home far surpasses the effort when it comes right down to it.

Now…about this bread. It’s got a chewy, crusty exterior, bready interior and it’s highly addictive. Consider yourself warned.

This, no oil whole wheat brown bread requires only about 5 minutes active prep work time and the rest is waiting on the dough and bake time.

You will need:

Whole wheat flour - 3 1/4 cups
Water - 1+1/2 cups lukewarm water
Honey - 1 teaspoon
Instant OR Active dry yeast: 3/4 tablespoons
Salt- 1/2 teaspoon
Black and white sesame seeds to sprinkle on top
Milk - 2 teaspoons
Extra wheat flour as needed

Method:

Combine the whole wheat flour and salt in a large bowl and combine with a whisk.


In a cup, mix the yeast into lukewarm water and 1 teaspoon honey and stir once.


Once the yeast starts to froth its ready to use, this will take about 20 - 30 seconds.


Add the yeast water into the flour and combine with the help of a rubber spatula.


Mix it well so that the dough forms into a rough ball.


Cover this ball with a damp kitchen towel or some cling film and allow to prove for atleast 3 hours. (Refer, A few tips on baking crusty bread) in a warm dark place (I switch on the microwave for 3 minutes, then switch it off and keep the dough in the microwave to rise (it must be switched OFF when the dough is kept in).


At the end of three hours the dough will be double in size, at this point punch off the air and lightly toss with added dry flour to give it a desired shape.



Shape the ball of dough into whatever you like—a round loaf or boule as they say in French, baguette, you name it! Let the bread dough rest for 15 minutes.

Score (Scoring is slashing the dough with a blade or a sharp knife to allow it to expand during baking. The purpose is primarily to control the direction in which the bread will expand during “oven spring.” ) the bread with a sharp knife.

Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle sesame or any other seeds of choice on top.


Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F).

Place a flat bowl on the bottom rack of the oven.

Pour one cup of hot water into the flat bowl and shut the oven quickly.

Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is well browned. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Enjoy!



What’s your favorite crusty bread? And do you have any tips for attaining the ultimate crust? Please share your thoughts in comments, below.

A few tips on baking crusty bread:

1. Shape the dough with more rather than less surface area.
A big, fat, round or oval loaf – a boule – doesn’t have as much opportunity to shine in the crisp crust department as does a thin baguette, or individual rolls. While you can certainly make a big loaf with crisp crust, the ratio of crunchy to tender will be much smaller.

So if you’re a real fan of crust (as opposed to soft interior), opt for smaller, skinnier, or flatter loaves or rolls.

2. To make crusty bread, create steam in the oven.
Some bakers like to place a sturdy pan (cast iron preferred) on the bottom shelf of the oven as it preheats, then pour 1/2 cup or so hot water into the pan as they’re loading the loaves. The result? Billows of steam trapped in the oven.

Another, easier way to re-create steam’s work is to simply spray or brush risen loaves with warm water before placing them into the hot oven.

So how, exactly, does steam create a crisp crust? Simply put, it has to do with the starch in flour. As bread bakes, its outer layer (crust) eventually reaches 180°F. At that point, the starches on the surface burst, become gel-like, and then harden in the oven’s heat to a crackly consistency. Steam hitting the bread’s surface facilitates this process.

3. Bake on a pizza stone or steel.
Many bakers find they can create a decent crisp top crust, but struggle to make their bread’s bottom crusty, as well.

The best way to brown and crisp your bread’s bottom crust – as well as enhance its rise – is to bake it on a preheated pizza stone or baking steel. The stone or steel, super-hot from your oven’s heat, delivers a jolt of that heat to the loaf, causing it to rise quickly. At the same time, the bread’s bottom, without the shield of a metal pan – which takes awhile to absorb and then transmit heat – bakes super-quickly, becoming brown and crisp.

4.To keep bread crusty, cool baked loaves in the oven.
This may sound like an oxymoron – cool bread in the oven? – but it works. Once the bread is baked, turn off the oven. Transfer the bread from pan (or stone) to a middle oven rack. Crack the oven door open a couple of inches (a folded potholder works well here), and let it cool right in the cooling oven.

How does this help keep bread crusty? As bread cools, any leftover moisture in its interior migrates to the surface. If that moisture reaches the surface and hits cool air – e.g., typical room temperature – it condenses on the loaf’s surface, making it soggy. If it hits warm air (your still-warm oven), it evaporates – leaving the crust crisp.



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