Thursday, October 29, 2009

Heart of Wheat Bread

Once in a while I come across a recipe that is so phenomenal that I know it will become part of my repertoire. This was the case with the Heart of Wheat Bread from the Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. In all its simplicity -after all its ingredients are only flour, water, honey, yeast, salt, and a healthful addition of wheat germ - it is perfection. I have made it countless times and every time I’ve made it I’ve doubled the recipe to make two loaves. It is an easy bread to put together; you mix up a sponge, cover it with a flour and yeast mixture and let it sit for four hours. After a 20 minute autolyse you add the salt and you mix the dough for 7 minutes. The dough is silky and lovely to work with. After you give it two rises you shape it and place into a loaf pan and give it its final rise. It is placed in a hot steamed oven where it gives the best oven spring ever. After about 30 minutes it is done, but I turn off the oven and leave it in for another 5 minutes for a crisper crust. I take it out of the oven and - this part is very satisfying for a bread baker - it crackles, it crackles like no other bread does. The bread is talking to me and it’s telling me that I’m in for a treat. How I wish I could cut into it as soon as it comes out of the oven, but I (not so)patiently wait for it to cool, and then I have a slice with butter and it never disappoints. Its crust is crisp and its crumb has just the right amount of chew. The next morning I look forward to breakfast because it makes the most wonderful toast. Rose writes that "..eating it inspires absolute and reverential silence!” That’s exactly how I feel.


Melinda said...

I actually haven't made this recipe yet. No reason, it sounds really good to me. (I think it is the recipe she has on a branded flour in USA.) The next bread I make I will make this recipe up.
Your bread has a lovely rise.

My favourite bread recipe of Rose's, that I make over and over, is her banana feather loaf. I seem to have a never ending supply of over ripe bananas! Unfortunately, it only uses one ripe banana, but is simply addictive freshly baked.
My husband is a bread junkie for it too.

doughadear said...

I've never made the Banana Feather Loaf but I do remember reading how you love this bread. I really must give it a try. When I have extra ripe bananas I make the Cranberry-Banana Walnut Bread which I love.