Sunday, September 7, 2008


When I went to the library on Thursday, one of the cookbooks I found was Whole Grain Baking from King Arthur Flour.  I've seen recipes from it on a number of blogs and seen it at the bookstore, so I wanted to take a closer look.  I have two other KAF cookbooks, and I've been thinking about adding this one to my wishlist, but I don't do a lot of whole grain baking.  Of course, that's part of why I picked it up--I know I really should work more whole grains into our diet.  

I'm still reading through the book, but so far I like what I see.  And it inspired me to pick up a bag of white whole wheat flour while I was shopping today.  I had already planned to do some bread baking today, and figured I could substitute it for some of the bread flour.  I had my eye on a recipe for white bread from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice.  The past couple times we've had hamburgers (not something we do all that often), I tried my hand at homemade buns.  One I've blogged about; the other I haven't gotten to yet...  So I figured I'd use half the recipe for buns and make a loaf of bread for lunches with the rest.  

For this first attempt, I just subbed the white whole wheat flour for about a quarter of the bread flour in the recipe.  Other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe as written.  In my kitchen, the rising times tend to be on the shorter end of the ranges, so the whole thing took maybe 4 hours, start to finish.  The buns and loaf bake for different times at different temperatures.  I baked the buns at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, at which point they were nice and golden brown.  Then I lowered the temp to 350 and baked the loaf for 35 minutes.  When I checked its internal temperature, it went right on by 190 degrees F, so it was definitely done.  The higher initial oven temperature may have had something to do with that.

The verdict?  Everyone liked the hamburger buns.  Jamie said he wouldn't have guessed that there was whole wheat in them if I hadn't told him.  Gillian and Brianna are already used to eating some whole wheat things, like tortillas, and they seemed to enjoy these.  How can you go wrong with fresh baked anything? =)  As for the loaf of bread, I cut it for pictures, but no one has eaten any yet.  The real test will be when I pack it in Brianna's lunch tomorrow.

Somewhat Whole Wheat Bread
(adapted from White Bread Var. 2 from The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart)

5 ounces white whole wheat flour
14 ounces unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 large egg, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
12 ounces 1% milk, at room temperature

Mix together the flours, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer.  Add the egg, butter, and milk.  Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the flours are absorbed and the dough forms a ball, adding more milk or flour if needed.

Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed (I used about 3) for 6 to 8 minutes.  Add more flour, if necessary, to create a dough that is soft, supple and tacky but not sticky.  The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or rising container and roll it to coat with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Ferment at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half for sandwich loaves, into eighteen 2-ounce pieces for dinner rolls, or twelve 3-ounce pieces for burger or hot dog buns.  (My dough weighed about 38 ounces, so I used 19 ounces for the loaf and six 3-ounce pieces for the buns.)   Shape the pieces into boules for loaves or tight rounds for dinner rolls or buns.  Mist the dough lightly with spray oil and cover with a towel or plastic wrap.  Allow to rest for about 20 minutes.  

For shaping the loaf, flatten the piece of dough with your hand, folding in the edges to make an even-sided rectangle about 5 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches long.  Working form the short side of the dough, roll up the length of the dough one section at a time, pinching the crease with each rotation to strengthen the surface tension.  The loaf will spread out as you roll it up, eventually extending to a full 8 to 9 inches.  Pinch the final seam closed with the back edge of your hand or with your thumbs.  Rock the loaf to even it out; do not taper the ends.  Keep the surface of the loaf even across the top.  Place the loaf in a lightly oiled pan, 8 1/2" by 4 1/2".  The ends of the loaf should touch the ends of the pan to ensure an even rise.

For rolls or buns, line 1 or 2 sheet pans with baking parchment.  Rolls require no further shaping.  For hamburger buns, gently press down on the rolls to form the desired shape.  Tranfer the rolls or buns to the sheet pans. 

Mist the tops of the dough with spray oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap or a towel.  Proof the dough at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until it nearly doubles in size.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F for loaves, or 400 degrees F for rolls or buns.  Bake the rolls for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown and register just above 180 degrees F in the center.  Bake loaves for 35 to 45 minutes.  The tops should be golden brown and the sides, when removed from the pan, should also be golden.  The internal temperature of the loaves should be close to 190 degrees F, and the loaves should sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.  When the loaves have finished baking, immediately remove them from the pans and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour.  Rolls should cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.


  1. I've been working at getting more whole grains in our diet, and I love the King Arthur whole grain book. It's inspiring, isn't it? Great job with the buns!

  2. I really like the white whole wheat flour for when you want a milder flavor. Nice bread and buns!

  3. These look fantastic. I will have to find some white whole wheat as they guys don't care for whole wheat. And try your recipe of course..... Borrowing cook books from the library. Great Idea!!!