Showing posts with label wholemeal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wholemeal. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bulgur Wheat Bread #BreadBakers

A tender loaf with a welcome bit of nutty chewiness from the bulgur wheat, this yeast bread has a soft crust and slices up beautifully.

As much as my grandmothers loved cooking and even baking, I don’t remember either of them ever baking bread. The French influence in our Louisiana heritage did mean that bread was important; you just bought it at a bakery. From the time I was tiny my mom told me stories of when she was younger and she would bring a stick of butter along to the bakery to pick up a fresh hot loaf just so she could butter the bread and eat it immediately in the car. Who wants to wait? The only bread I remember in our house when I was growing up was white sandwich bread and French bread – still white inside – preferably baked by the southern Louisiana institutions of Evangeline Maid in Lafayette and LeJeune’s in Jeanerette, respectively. Even today, my mom’s freezer in Houston usually has a loaf or two of LeJeune’s delicious French bread, still made by hand, for when she needs a bread and butter fix.

When I started dating my husband and was introduced to his dad and stepmom, I finally met a woman who baked bread weekly, more often that that, in fact, if she had bread loving visitors (like us!) because her home-baked bread was the centerpiece of every lunch, surrounded by cheese and sliced meat and condiments and salad. And breakfast, more often than not, included toast. I wrote at length about Fiona’s wonderful bread for the inaugural post of Bread Bakers exactly one year ago, so I won’t go into it again here, except to say that hers was also the first time I remember eating and loving whole wheat bread instead of white. She started me on the road to baking my own bread and even buying whole grain breads. They are just so much more flavorful! (Although it's still hard to beat a pimento cheese sandwich on Evangeline Maid.)

This month our Bread Bakers challenge to bake bread with whole grains was set by our able host of Cali’s Cuisine. I decided to kick mine up a notch by adding bulgur wheat as well. It was a very good decision. This recipe, adapted from one in the New York Times online, makes two nutty deliciously healthy loaves and freezes beautifully.

N.B. You'll need three and a half hours of resting or rising time, in addition to almost one hour baking so start early in your day!

Ingredients - for two standard loaves
For the sponge:
2 packets active dry yeast (1/2 oz or 14g total)
3 cups or 710ml warm water
3 tablespoons mild honey
1 cup or 200g coarse bulgur wheat
2 cups or 250g strong white bread flour
1 cup or 120g wholemeal bread flour

For the bread dough:
1 bread sponge recipe (see above)
1/4 cup or 60ml canola oil, plus a little extra for oiling bowl and baking pans
1 scant tablespoon salt
2 cups or 240g wholemeal bread flour, plus additional as necessary for kneading

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and honey, and stir until dissolved. Leave it for a couple of minutes to make sure that the yeast is reacting and making some small bubbles before proceeding.

Add in the bulgur wheat and leave to rest again for another five or so minutes.

Now whisk in the white bread flour and the wholemeal bread flour one cup at a time. Keep stirring or whisking for at least two minutes after all three cups have been added. You'll end up with quite a thick batter.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover it with cling film. Leave to rest in a warm spot for one hour. It should bubble up quite dramatically.

Fold the oil into the sponge along with the salt and then fold in one cup of the wholemeal bread flour.

Sprinkle your clean work surface with flour from the second cup of wholemeal bread flour and scrape the dough out of the bowl.

Here’s where it gets sticky. I found that using a stainless steel dough scraper really helped with this part of the process.

Sprinkle the dough with more wholemeal bread flour. Use your scraper to turn and fold and “knead” the dough, until the last of the cup has been added.

Keep folding and kneading for about 10 minutes, adding just a little more flour as needed, until the dough springs back when you press it with a finger. It will still be quite sticky.

Wash out your bowl and grease the inside with a little canola oil.

Scrape the dough into the bowl and turn it over to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl again with cling film and leave in a warm place for one hour.

Punch the dough down, cover it again and leave to rise for another hour.

Grease two bread loaf pans. Divide the dough into two equal parts and place them in the greased pans. Sprinkle with some wholemeal bread flour and put them in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C at some point in that 30 minutes. Mine takes forever to get to temperature so I start about 10 minutes in. You do what you need to do.

When your 30 minutes are up and your oven is preheated properly, cut some quick slashes in the dough with a very sharp implement.

Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F or 88°C on an instant read thermometer or the top is golden and the loaves sound hollow when tapped.

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.


More whole grain goodness from my fellow Bread Bakers:

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tangzhong Rye Bread #BreadBakers

This rounded loaf with rye and wholemeal wheat flour is perfect for toasting, smearing with butter and dipping in hot soup. It also makes the best toast soldiers to accompany a soft-boiled egg or to spread with jam.

Living = Learning
To paraphrase Samuel Johnson’s ode to London, “When a man is tired of food, he is tired of life.” I never cease to be amazed that the more I know about food, the more I realize there is to learn. New techniques, new methods, new ingredients, even new combinations of old ingredients are a constant source of excitement for me, from learning how to debone a chicken while keeping it whole (Thanks, Dai!) to attempting a bread challenge from the Great British Bake Off to buying unfamiliar produce at the farmers’ market and using the Google to find out what it’s called, to exploring the recipes of my host country, this food thing is so much more than a hobby. It’s an intellectual and cross-cultural exercise that just happens to keep the family fed as well.

Fortune favors the brave
Sometimes I learn a thing but it takes me a while to put it to use. I give you the tangzhong or water roux method of bread dough making, for instance. Although it’s been used in Japan, whence it comes, for ages, I first heard about it when my friend, fellow Bread Baker and pastry chef Jenni Field wrote a great explanatory post on her wonderful blog, Pastry Chef Online last August, but it took this month’s rye bread challenge from Anshie of Spice Roots to get me going on it. 

Rye is notorious for its low gluten content so I decided that perhaps starting with a wholemeal wheat bread flour tangzhong for extra body would be helpful. Of course, since I am almost foolhardy in my disregard of normal baking rules, even in the face of no experience, I decided that I would make my tangzhong with beer and water instead of just water, as is typically done. A rye beer, natch. 

It was a pain to knead since rye dough, even with wholemeal flour added, is so sticky but overall, I was very pleased with how it turned out. I baked it on the same day as I made this lovely chickpea veggie soup for dinner and it was the perfect accompaniment.

If you’ve been meaning to challenge yourself to bake with rye flour, make sure to scroll down after the recipe to see the list of links to all the rye creations we have for you this month. Many thanks to our host, Anshie of Spice Roots, for this “out of my comfort zone” challenge!

Oh, and one last thing, let me share my earworm with you. The whole while I was making this bread, I kept singing in my head:

Ev'rybody have fun tonight
Ev'rybody have fun tonight
Ev'rybody Tang Zhong tonight
Ev'rybody have fun tonight
Ev'rybody Tang Zhong tonight

No need to thank me. You are welcome!


For the tangzhong
1/3 cup or 45g wholemeal bread flour
1/2 cup or 120ml Battersea Rye Beer (or other beer of your choice or replace with more water)
1/2 cup or 120ml water

For Dough
Scant 2/3 cup or 140ml milk
2 tablespoons Battersea Rye Beer
250g wholemeal bread flour
1 1/4 cups or 125g rye flour (plus possibly more for kneading)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 oz or 7g Rapid Rise yeast (I used one packet of Fleischmann’s.)
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup + 1/8 cup or 100g tangzhong (which coincidentally is 100ml, if that helps you measure by volume)
1/4 cup or 60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Olive oil (for greasing the proofing vessel)

First make your tangzhong by mixing the flour with the water and beer in a small pot. Whisk till all the lumps are gone.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent sticking or burning. As the mixture heats, it gets very thick. Keep stirring and cooking until the spoon or whisk handle leaves furrows in the tangzhong. If you are a thermometer-using type (and I strongly encourage you to become one, if you aren’t already) you want the tangzhong to reach 150°F or 65°C.

Remove from the heat and transfer your tangzhong into another vessel to allow it to cool. I measured out the amount for my bread at this point and put the tangzhong in two bowls. The tangzhong is enough for a little more than two loaves though, so you can leave it all in one bowl if you are doubling this recipe. I just figured it would cool faster if it were separated.

Once the tangzhong has cooled to room temperature, you can proceed with the bread dough. (If you refrigerate it, let it return to room temperature before continuing.)

Slightly warm your milk and beer together in a small pot or in a measuring cup in the microwave.

Whisk your flours, yeast, sugar and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.

Add in the warm milk/beer and the tangzhong.

Mix with the bread hook until all the ingredients come together and form a dough.

Add the butter and knead until the butter is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic.

I found mine too sticky to knead effectively so after about 10 minutes, I took it out of the mixer and kneaded by hand for at least another 10 minutes, sprinkling on just the tiniest bit more rye flour as needed.

Put the dough into an oiled bowl or dough rising bucket and cover with plastic wrap or the lid. Leave in a warm place until doubled. Mine took about one hour.


Punch the dough down and form it into a round loaf. Place it on parchment on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with a little more rye flour.

Put it inside a clean, new garbage bag and leave to rise until doubled again. This took about another hour so set your timer for 45 minutes and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C when it goes off.

When the rising time is finished, bake the loaf in your preheated oven for about 30-35 minutes or until golden.

Ready to bake!


Need a rye bread or cracker recipe? This is your Bread Bakers month!


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to