Saturday, February 4, 2017

[ Honey Wheat Brown Bread ]

Prep Time 30min
Cook Time 30min
Total Time 4hr30min

11⁄2 cups warm water (105oF)
1 tbsp sugar
21⁄4 tsp instant dry yeast (1 package)
2 cups bread flour
13⁄4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp espresso powder (or coffee)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, softened
1⁄4 cup honey
2 tbsp molasses
caramel colouring, or dark brown food colouring (optional)
1⁄4 cup cornmeal, for dusting the bottom of the shaped (not baked) loafs (optional) oats, for dusting the top of the shaped (not baked) loafs (optional)

In a medium bowl, mix together the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes to proof (it will be foamy on top at the end).

Using the paddle attachment in your stand mixer, whisk together the bread flour, whole wheat flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, butter, honey, and molasses. Also, add your food coloring here if using. You can adjust the colour while it's kneading, so just add a little at a time. Mix on medium-low speed until combined. The dough will be fairly thick and a little tacky.

Swap out to the dough hook, and knead on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes. This dough is thicker than your standard white bread, so it will be a little tacky, but will not pull or stick to the bottom of the bowl while kneading (but will when the mixer is stopped).

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise is a warm spot for two hours, until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces, and shape into mini-baguette style logs, roughly 6" long and 2" wide. See below notes for directions on this.

Place the cornmeal on a plate (if using), and set the loafs in it to lightly coat the bottom. Place the loafs on a lined baking sheet, with lots of space between them. Lightly wet the top of the loafs with your hand and some water, then sprinkle on a light dusting of oats. Spray the tops of the loafs with Pam (to keep the wrap from sticking), then cover VERY loosely with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place and let rise for another 60 to 90 minutes, until nearly doubled in size again.

Bake in a 350oF oven for 25 to 35 minutes. The crust will be soft and squishy to the tough. Bread is cooked when the internal temperature is 190oF, so feel free to use an instant read thermometer to check.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. If baking ahead of time, store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap once completely cooled, for up to 2 days, though it's best eaten the day baked. Gently warm in the oven before serving.

With the flour - Some days I find that I need to use more flour (probably depending on the weather, or how packed my cups are). the key is to have the dough feel tacky, but NOT sticky - none of it should stick to your fingers when you give it a squeeze.
For shaping mini-baguettes:
Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a rectangle, about 4" across. Fold the top 1/3 down, like a letter, and press the seam into the dough with your fingertips. You'll see that you're creating some friction at the top, this is good!
Fold the bottom up over the top, tightly, and press to seal again.
Here's a great video that shows this. Skip to the 1:15 mark for the shaping to start. Note that she's making true mini baguettes, that are more than double the size of these, so she needs to do a lot more folds. These loafs are just fine with only two.
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