Saturday, September 4, 2010

BBA Challenge #41 Whole Wheat Bread

If White Bread is the candy of breads, then Whole Wheat Bread must be the- er- bread- of breads. It's pretty funny to make the leap from White Bread, which is known in some circles as the evil of the world, to Whole Wheat Bread, which is supposed to be the healthy bread, the one you buy out of obligation, but not because it tastes good. But such is the (alphabetical) order in Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.

For this bread, I was determined not to repeat the same mistakes that my other co-bakers had made. Some had made bricks and moved on, some were successful. But, the thing is, I think this recipe is not that good. There's all the makings of what would become Peter Reinhart's epoxy theory, but the recipe is just so-so. Whole Wheat Flour is notorious for being difficult to work with- I usually get pretty dense breads when I make whole wheat sourdough bread, so I usually go with the trick I learned from the Poilâne-style miche- I buy coarse-ground whole-wheat flour, and I sift out most of the bran.

Everything in its right place. I used every ingredient listed, knowing that eggs, oil and honey (the three in the center) act as natural dough conditioners, and would help the bread to be less brick-y.

Still, even with all of these additives, I was fairly skeptical. Like with the 100% Rye Sourdough bread, I just sort of cruised my way through the kneading of the bread.

I hardly thought it was going to work out.

But it did.

Unfortunately, when it came to the shaping, I sort of failed at it. The thing is, I don't bake loaves in pans anymore. I tend to just bake a boule and slice odd-shaped slices from it.

So, even though they did fit, they were a bit lumpy.

As with the rye bread, I forgot that I was even baking until I walked into the kitchen and found the that the dough had crested the loaf pans.

I went ahead and baked them and let them cool before slicing into them.

The crumb was rather open, but, in truth, I didn't care much for this bread. Yes, it did have that nutty whole wheat flavor, but the thing was that, for me, it didn't taste like bread. It was- gasp!- like cake.

So, this one can be seen as the cake of bread. Or, in other words, bread cake.

Pass. Move on.

At least the list of alphabetical breads is over with.

Bring on the cheese breads!


  1. So interesting that it tasted cakey - I wonder why that was! We didn't love this one either. But we *did* love both of the cheese breads, so enjoy!!!

  2. I guess that every recipe in a book can't be a winner, but it was pretty amazing how many were very good recipes.

    Cake,huh. What kind of cake are you eating in Germany?

  3. Cake? That's weird... I didn't like this bread either even though I really love whole-wheat bread.

  4. I was underwhelmed with this recipe also. I've made much tastier 100% whole wheat breads with other recipes. But... you completed this part of the challenge, therefore.... you may move on...LOL

  5. Thanks everyone for the comments! After a month away, I can't believe I still have readers.

    I'm not sure why it was cakey- Amy did love it, though. It might have been because I sort of let it overrise in the last rise. Maybe the sweetness of the honey that I'm not used to in bread.

    Anne Marie- I'm actually not eating very many cakes in Germany. They're usually 2/3 cream and 1/3 actual cake, which I don't really like. This summer, though, I had an amazing one- Frankfurter Kranz, which was amazing.

    Thanks Mags!