Cracking the Baking Books: Cracked Wheat Rolls
Bread books. I have, oh plenty. There's the old time favorite, Bread Book, by Linda Collister. She's also done one called Flavored Breads that I own. There are the Danish ones I adore - 'Nannas Brød og Kager' by Nanna Simonsen, and Camilla Plum's 'Brød'. Also, there's a Danish one by THE flour man, Jørn Ussing, Aurions Bagebog. Very back to the roots, that one. Then there's The Bread Bible, by Beth Hensperger and another Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Berenbaum (is that blasphemia? TWO bibles?) The tome, HomeBaking, by (some of my all time favorite cookbook authors) Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. Baking with Passion, by Dan Lepard also snuck itself in there. Not to mention all of the recipes for breads that are hiding in the back of "regular" cookbooks, and in magazines and on del.icio.us.
So enough of the buying - even though I have both this, and this, and oh, don't forget this and this - and okay, there's this one and this one, too - I just don't know where to stop, do I? - on my wish list for Christmas. On with the baking, I say.
Cracked Wheat Loaf - or Rolls, in my house :) - adapted from Rose Levy Berenbaum: The Bread Bible
- I give the recipe here as I made it - it should be noted though, that Rose is a very thorough lady and if you have the book, I would definitely recommend you go look up the recipe there. It's on page 289. She uses instant yeast and dry milk powder, both of which are difficult for me to find in a decent quality. So I snuck out of it, using fresh yeast and buttermilk (I had buttermilk around. You can use milk if you prefer, I'm sure)
For the dough starter:
78 grams bread flour
72 grams whole wheat flour
5 g. fresh yeast
½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey
166 g. water
100 g. buttermilk
Combine the two types of flour, sugar and honey. Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add this and the buttermilk to the flour, whisking it until it becomes very smooth, about two minutes. It should look like a thick batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, the prepare:
The flour mixture:
312 g. bread flour
½ tablespoon sugar
2 g. fresh yeast
Mix the flour and sugar. Rub the yeast into it, breaking it into as small pieces as possible. Sprinkle this on top of the sponge - it will make quite a thick layer, and that's perfectly fine. Cover with plastic wrap (or as I usually do, a cut-up freezer bag - they're reusable and work great) and leave on the counter for 1 to 4 hours.
Now, you need some finishing ingredients:
85 g. coarse bulgur
118-154 g. boiling water
11.5 g. salt
Cover the bulgur with the water - depending on how much crunch you want in the finished bread, go for the smaller or larger amount of water. I used the larger. Leave to stand for an hour, at least.
To finish the bread, you transfer the sponge/flour mixture and the bulgur to the bowl of a mixer (if you're smart, you started everything out in the mixer bowl) Mix with the dough hook on low speed for about one minute. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for 20 minutes.
When the 20 minutes are up, add salt and knead the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. It should end up a elastic and slightly sticky. Leave the dough to rise until doubled - I let mine rise in the fridge overnight.
When the dough has doubled, shape it - either into a loaf, or as I did, about 12 rolls, tugged snugly into a roasting tin as to make nice, flat, fill-able sandwich rolls. Let rise for 45 minutes to 1½ hour, doubling in bulk.
An hour before the rolls/bread is to go in the oven, preheat it to 350 F. Pop the rolls/bread in once it's hot, and bake for 25 minutes for rolls - the bread more likely needs 40-50 minutes.
Now, having written this, I have to urge you to please, PLEASE, seek out this book somewhere. I swear, I'm a poor excuse for a recipe writer (even when I'm just copying/paraphrasing - all those nitty-gritty details and it's 11 PM!) and I do her no justice when I sum it all up like this. But. Seriously, here. When you're making something from the book, it's nice to have. Like, what does "medium speed" entail? Rose will tell you - it's speed 4, which I personally thought was way to fast for a bread dough to be slung around, but it works! Not only is the book packed with recipes, it's thorough and guiding, and the end results are wow! The rolls here, slightly nutty from the cracked wheat, a hint of sweetness from the honey and sugar, and, as is claimed in the introduction to the recipe, the perfect sandwich bread - what more do you want? Makes me want to bake more, that's for sure. And that's all you could want, isn't it?