cracked wheat bread

cracked wheat bread, originally uploaded by Seligmans Dog.

I like to bake whole grain breads, but often have problems. When I say whole grain, I don't want all rough milled flour, I want a significant fraction of the grain to be whole grain just hydrated to soften it. The biggest problem? I like my grainy bread to be for sandwhiches and enjoying with cheese; for that I prefer a boule shape. The inherent challenge with this shape and having whole grain in the ingredient list is often a doughy undercooked center. The whole grain retains so much moisture (which is great for shelf life), but it creates two different environments of cooking, the exterior and middle. Kind of like breast and thighs on chicken.

I tried a recipe I really liked recently. Inspired by Bittman's Food Matters (thanks Bethia!). I use more water than Bittman's recipe and let the grain steep for a long time prior to mixing to insure no crunchies in the final bread. I made this Sunday afternoon and it's still as good as the day it came out of the oven. This is a big deal for me. I like Frankie to have her bread from home and don't always have time to bake bread daily.

Cracked Wheat Bread
• In a bowl used for rising add:
Cracked wheat (coarse or fine), 1/2 C
Boiling water, 2.0 C
• Let sit until convenient (an hour or so, I let it sit all day).
• Add:
salt, 1.5 teaspoons
grain flours mix, 1/2 C (I have a tub of spelt, wheat and rye flour mixed)
unbleached white (need some structure), 2 Cups
vegetable oil, 2 tablespoon
dry yeast, 1/2 teaspoon
• Mix until the thing forms a ball and kind of knead with wooden spoon in bowl
• Let rise at least 12 hours.
• Form into a boule and let sit on parchment covered with a dry dishtowel for about 8 hours. The dough's not very sticky, typical of nice grainy doughs. Use a bit of flour to prevent any tackiness if you need while shaping.
• Slide into a 425°F oven; I cooked it on a sheet pan that preheated in the oven and toss a 1/4 cup of water into the bottom of the oven.
• Bake 45 minutes at 425°F, remove and let thoroughly cool.