March 23, 2011

Buttermilk Wheat Berry Yeast Bread

I need to start off by telling you this, the top of this bread looks different then yours will.  You probably won't leave the bread to rise and then go shopping and return 3 hours later to a sticky mess of bread that has overflowed from your loaf pan and spilled out onto the table.  You probably won't let that happen, but I did.  So the top of this bread looks funny.  But yours won't.

Aside from the drama of the rising bread; it was delicious.  What bread, with chewy little bits of wheat berries that give a nutty taste and pleasant texture.  When my husband and I shared a bite of it for picture taking purposes we were both very happy with the taste and texture and appearance.  However, I gave one loaf to a friend and brought the other loaf in to work and got really nice comments about it.  I will be making this one again.

This is easy to put together; keep in mind you need to cook the wheat berries a couple of hours in advance so you might want to do that the day before if you need this bread the same day.

What is a wheat berry?  Wheat berries are the whole grain that wheat flour is milled out of.  You can buy hard or soft wheat berries from health food stores usually.

To prepare them: Bring a large pot of berries covered in water (lots of water) up to a boil.  After it begins to boil you can reduce the heat and simmer with a lid on for 2 hours.  Check frequently to ensure water is still in there, these little suckers drink a LOT of water.  After they are cooked you can drain off the water and let sit until they are room temperature.  For this recipe you need 1/2 Cup of uncooked wheat berries.

Add some honey to the yeast in a mixing bowl.

Warm up some buttermilk until just warm - either in a pot or the microwave. Mine took about 1 minute in total in the microwave.

Add the egg, salt, oil and flour into the buttermilk, honey and yeast mixture and mix with the dough hook attachment for about 5 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the sides.  Mine only took a couple of minutes for this to start happening. Now turn off your mixture and add the wheat berries.  Turn the mixer on low and mix until combined. The dough will be sticky.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Put the dough on a well floured surface and cut into two even pieces.

Roll the dough out into an 8x12 inch piece. 

Now roll the dough up and pinch the seams together.

Put the dough roll into a well greased standard sized loaf pan. You'll need another well greased pan ready as well.

Now do the same with the remaining dough ball.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size. This is where you do NOT want to go shopping and return 3 hours later.  This last rise should take about an hour.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.  The tops should be hard and sound sort of hollow when tapped. I slathered the tops with salted butter right out of the oven. I think you should do that too.

Let cool before cutting.

You can find this recipe here: Buttermilk Wheat berry Bread

Recipe from the Seattle Times

Makes 2 loaves (about 10 slices each)

1/2 cup wheat berries (both soft and hard will work)
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 egg
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
6 cups bread flour

1. In a medium saucepan, cover the wheat berries with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours, or until tender, adding more water as needed. Drain off any excess water, and cool to room temperature.
2. In a microwave safe container, or a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk until just warm to the touch.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warmed buttermilk, yeast and honey. Add the egg, salt, oil and flour. Mix with the dough hook on low until combined and then for 5 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but come clean from the sides of the bowl. Add the wheat berries and mix until combined.
4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
5. Coat 2 standard loaf pans with cooking spray.
6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Flatten each into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. One rectangle at a time, start with a short end and roll up the loaf, pinching to seal. Place each loaf in a prepared pan with the pinched edge at the bottom.
7. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise again until doubled in size.
8. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
9. Using a sharp knife, make deep diagonal slashes across the tops of the loaves. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. The interior temperature should read 200 degrees. Remove the loaves from the pan and let cool before slicing.

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