I am very pleased with my bread. It took 2 days to make but it was worth it, that’s not to say that I didn’t have a few problems.
I got the original recipe from Peter Reinhart’s whole grain breads, it is referenced below.
This is the recipe with a few adjustments:
7 tbsp whole wheat flour
170g any combination of cooked and uncooked grains (I used 85g each of Freekah and Farro)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup filtered water, at room temperature
7 tbsp whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil (optional)
1. Mix all of the soaker ingredients together in a bowl for about 1 minute, until all of the flour is wet and the ingredients form a thick, porridge-like dough. I had to add more flour here as the mixture was too runny.
2. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
1. Mix all the biga ingredients together in a bowl to form a ball of dough. Using wet hands, knead the dough in the bowl for 2 minutes to be sure all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and the flour is wet. The dough should feel very tacky. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead it again with wet hands for 1 minute. The dough will become smoother but still be tacky.
2. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
3. About 2 hours before mixing the final dough, remove the biga from the refigerator. It will have risen slightly.
1. Chop the soaker and biga into 12 smaller pieces each and sprinkle some extra flour over them to insure the pieces dont stick back together. My soaker was not able to be cut into 12 because of its consistency so I just put chunks of it in the stand mixer and it didnt seem to matter.
2. If using a stand mixer, put the pre-dough pieces and all of the other ingredients except the extra flour into the mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix on Kneading setting for 1 minute to bring the ingredients into a ball. Mix again for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down occasionally until the dough becomes cohesive. Add more flour or water as needed until the dough is soft and slightly tacky.
3. Dust a work surface with flour, then roll the dough in the flour to coat. Knead the dough by hand for 3 to 4 minutes (I think the stand mixer would work too), incorporating only as much extra flour as needed, until the dough feels soft and tacky, but not sticky. Form the dough into a ball and let it rest for 5 minutes while you prepare a clean, lightly oiled bowl.
4. Resume kneading fo 1 minute to strengthen the gluten. The dough should have strength and pass the windowpane test, yet still feel soft supple and very tacky. Form the dough into a ball and place it in the prepared bowl, rolling to coat with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 60 minutes, until it is about 1 1/2 times its original size.
5.Gently transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface with spatula. Form the dough into a large boule, being careful to degas the dough as little as possible when shaping it. Proof the boule in a bannetoon or floured bowl and cover loosely with a cloth towel. Let it rise at room temperature for 45 minutes, until nearly 1 1/2 times its original size.
6. Preheat oven to 260 degrees celcuis and place a pizza stone and steam pan in the oven. When the dough is ready to bake, place it in the oven and pour 1 cup of hot water into the steam pan. Lower the temperature to 232 degrees celcius and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the bread 180 degrees and continure baking for another 25 minutes (I cooked it for 15 minutes, covered it with foil and cooked it for another 10 minutes) or until the bread is rich brown on all sides, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom, and registers at leat 93 degrees celcuis in the centre (I didnt have a thermometer for bread so it was a bit hard to judge when it was cooked). The crust should be hard.
7. Transfer the bread to a cooling rack and cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
My biggest problems were with the soaker and the cooking of the bread. My soaker was very wet and I think that could be because I didnt measure the water accurately on the scales. The cooking was difficult as the outside looked ready but I couldn’t tell if the inside was ready as I didnt have a bread thermometer. It ended up being cooked on the inside but very dense, possibly because it is a whole grain bread.
Reinhart, P. (2007). Hearth Breads. In Peter Reinhart’s whole grain breads: New techniques, extraordinary flavor (pp. 158-160). Berkeley, Calif., California: Ten Speed Press.