Friday, May 23, 2014

Seeded Whole Wheat Bread 全麥種子麵包

Since I started making my own bread a few years ago, I have almost exclusively been using the Tong Zhong method. It gives me consistently soft and fluffy bread that lasts up to four or five days at room temperature. However, I learned this is not the only method for soft, long-lasting bread.

I have been exploring new ways to make bread with a higher percentage of whole wheat. Most breads that are labelled as whole wheat in the market are made with only 30% whole wheat flour while the majority is white bread flour. I think the main reason is not so much the cost but the nature of wheat flour.

Whole wheat flour is made by milling the whole wheat kernel: bran, endosperm and germ. White flour (including all-purpose, bread, and cake flour) is made only from the endosperm where the majority of the protein is located. But the other two components, bran and germ, is where the good and healthy stuff is. Bran is the outer coat of the wheat where you can find the most fiber. It also has a lot of phenolic acid which gives the wheat flavor. Germ is the embryo of the kernel where all the polyunsaturated oil is located.

Why does using the whole kernel make the texture so dense? The key is the bran. It has a lot of sharp edges that will cut the gluten as they form and develop after the flour is mixed with water and during kneading. Without the strong gluten network, the ability to hold the air released by the yeast is significantly reduced, resulting in a dense and heavy loaf of bread. The is the reason why I always add vital wheat gluten to whole wheat bread to compensate for the difference in texture.

This recipe involves making a sponge or polish. It is a crucial step that let the whole wheat flour have plenty of time to soak up water, and in turn, soften the bran. The result is a whole wheat bread that is as soft as white bread and can be kept in room temperature for as long as tong zhong bread.

According to Jacquy Pfeiffer, author of The Art of French Pastry (2014 Best Baking and Dessert Book of James Beard Award) and co-founder of the French Pastry School, there are a few advantages of soaking the seeds overnight. One obvious reason is that they can absorb up to one and a half of their weight in water and thus increase the softness and moisture of the bread. It can also break down the complex starches, phytic acid and certain enzymes so that our bodies can digest them more easily.


Ingredients to make one 13x4x4 inch loaf or 5 small loaves

Day 1:
250 g whole wheat flour 全麥麵粉
125 g unbleached bread flour 高筋麵粉
5 g instant yeast 即溶酵母
300 g water 水
25 g each of flaxseeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds 亞麻籽,芝麻,葵花籽

1)  Mix whole wheat flour, bread flour, yeast and water in a large bowl until combined. (No need to knead.) Cover and let it rise in room temperature for an hour and then put it in the refrigerator.
2)  Put all the seeds in a bowl and put enough water to cover. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


Day 2:
125 g unbleached bread flour 高筋麵粉
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten 小麥麵筋粉
25 g chia seeds 奇異籽
40 g sugar 糖
6 g salt 鹽
30 g unsalted butter, softened 室溫無鹽牛油

1)  Put bread flour, wheat gluten, sugar, chia seeds and salt in the overnight dough.
2)  Knead for about 10 minutes in a stand mixer. Strain the soaked seeds and add to the dough. Add butter and knead for a few more minutes until blended.
3)  Cover and let it rise until it doubles in size.
4)  Divide into 3 equal portions for 13x4x4 pan or 5 portions for small loaves.
5)  Roll out the dough and put in the oiled pan. Cover and let it rise until it rises past the rim of the pan. For free loaves, roll out and shape into an oval. Cover and let it rise until it is almost double in size.


6)  Bake the loaf in the pan in a preheat 350F oven for 35 minutes. For individual loaves, bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.


1)  Do not soak chia seeds overnight because they will gel up. Put them in the dough together with the rest of the ingredients in Day 2.
2)  More is not always better. Do not put add-on, such as seeds or nuts, more than 30% of the weight of the flour.
3)  Do not put the soaked seeds in the dough too soon, otherwise they may hinder the gluten development and resulting in a dense and flat bread.
4) Click here to read about the wonders of flaxseeds.

1)  奇異籽不須要浸泡,可以直接放入麵團搓便可以。
2)  不可放太多種子,只可以放少於麵粉重量三份之一的份量,太多會防礙麵團發酵。
3)  浸泡過的種子不可過早放入麵團,否則麵筋發展受阻,麵包會發不起。
4) 亞麻籽有多好?點擊這裏

1 comment:

  1. HiPhoebe,
    It is the bread that I dream of all the time outside bakery store . Thank you so much you explaned how to bake it.I will make it after my vacation.
    Thak you


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