Sunday, January 22, 2012

The baking dilemma

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When we bought 175 pounds of organic wheat and a hand-grinder, I envisioned happy years spent baking freshly-ground bread and boiling tender homemade pasta. Here's the dilemma: my kids won't touch homemade whole wheat bread with a ten foot pole. We've taken to eating our wheat boiled, which is actually really delicious, and buying our bread (Dave's Killer—I wonder how he does it?) at Costco.

I admit that my kids might be balking at my bread's consistency, which is somewhere between that of a shoe and that of a brick (but closer to the brick end of the spectrum). I used to be able to bake a delightful loaf of bread using a combination of white and wheat flour, but as I've pushed further and further into the whole wheat realm I've alienated my diners and lost my touch.

Whole wheat bakers, how do you do it? Do I need to go back to a white/wheat mix? Add eggs? Rise overnight? Knead longer? Something's terribly wrong with my current approach.

I have a wonderful recipe book—The Bread Bible—with which I have had success. Its recipes, for the most part, call for unbleached white flour. I have another wonderful book—The Encyclopedia of Country Living—in which the author states her reluctance to explain the how-tos of whole wheat bread because it is not the sort of thing one can teach in a book. Perhaps I'll look for a third book that strikes a better balance, or perhaps you, dear reader, will have an answer for me.


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