Tag Archives: baking

The Food Matters Project #12: Mostly Whole Wheat Bread

How many of us have a number of cookbooks on their shelves any never tried any of the recipes (or very few of them)?  If you are this person, you should do something similar to The Food Matters Project (with this cookbook or any other).  Each week one of the participants chooses a recipe, and we all try it.  It’s a great idea to cook your way through a cookbook- with only 1 recipe a week!

Whenever I go through a magazine or cookbook, I tend to notice only some recipes.  Since we have began The Food Matters Project, it has been great trying out new dishes which we probably would never have gotten to.

Thanks to Melissa of The Faux Martha, I now tried a new bread recipe.  She chose 2 bread recipes from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matter’s Cookbook: Real Whole Wheat Bread and Mostly Whole Wheat Baguettes.

In the kitchen I tend to stay away from yeast, Sam is the one that makes the pizza dough.  Although I have used yeast a little bit in the past (double-rise wheat bread, whole-wheat pitas and yeast dinner rolls), I’m still not very confident in my abilities.

This bread turned out great, and gave me a little bit more confidence.  I wish I had played around with it a bit more, but I was playing it on the safe side the first time around.

So if you’re worried or scared of yeast, definitely try this bread!  After the first bite this will be a “must-bake” item every single week!

What can you eat with this bread?  Here are some ideas: Triple Green Chicken Salad, Lox, and Tuna & Veggie Sandwich.

Mostly Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 542)

This recipe was going to be a baguette, but when I was shaping the dough I think it wanted to be a bread loaf instead.  If you’d like additional flavor or texture, top it off with some poppy or sesame seeds.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for shaping
2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (equivalent to the little packet)
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp olive oil

In a stand mixer combine the: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, sugar and yeast.  Start the mixer, using a dough hook.  Then, about a 1/4 cup at a time, add the water into the mixture.  Continue to mix the dough until it forms into a ball.  You might need to add some more water- if so, add it 1 tbsp at a time.

Pour olive oil into a large bowl, swish it around so it is covered where the dough will touch (this will prevent it from sticking).  Put the dough into the bowl, and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap.  Allow it to rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature, it should double in size.

Lightly flour the surface you’ll be working on.  Knead the dough a few times (about 3 minutes).  Roll the dough out into 2 baguettes or 1 loaf of bread.

Heat the oven to 500ºF.  If you’ll be baking the bread on a sheet pan, spray it with non-stick spray, then set the loaf on the pan.  Put the bread into the oven for 10 minutes.  Then turn down the heat (while the bread is in the oven) to 400ºF.  Bake it at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until the inside of the bread is 210ºF).

*If you are topping the bread with seeds, brush the loaf with a little water and then sprinkle on the poppy or sesame seeds (about 1/4 cup) prior to baking.

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Whole-Wheat Pitas

Just like hummus, I have always bought pitas at the grocery store.  I had found that Trader Joe’s carries fresh and fluffy pitas.  The kind you can’t wait to rip open and sit with a giant tub of hummus and eat away.  I stay away from all others.  Why?  Too many times I have picked up a bag of really thin, limp and not fresh pitas from all grocery stores, definitely not an enjoyable snack.

So when hummus  was chosen for the latest Food Matters Project, I started thinking about getting a little crazy in the kitchen and trying out pitas.  Lately, I’ve had some extra time on my hands, so why not try something new?

As I read over the recipe, I saw that the ingredients included bread flour and whole-wheat flour.  I had neither.  For about 2 seconds I contemplated of not adding those 2 items to my grocery list, but I did.  I’m very glad I did.

When I had made the dough, I had this terrible feeling that it wouldn’t rise (which is why I bought extra packets of yeast).  But I wanted to try it until I succeed (I think the chickpeas got me in a groove).  To my surprise the dough rose, beautifully!

Then came the next part- baking.  It all went fairly smoothly.  I rolled out the dough, sprayed the baking pan, and turned on the heat in our oven.  Of course I couldn’t have picked a better day- it was 70 degrees outside, and even hotter in our condo.  In went the pita, and about 8 minutes later when I pulled it out it looked perfect.  Of course, before I could jump for joy our fire alarm sounded- ooops!  I think a chunk burned on the baking pan.

The recipe makes 8 pitas, and we can’t eat them all in one sitting (although I’d like to!).  So the dough pieces which we didn’t heat up, I divided into sandwich bags and froze them.  So the next time we bring home (or make) some more hummus, or want a fresh and fluffy pita, all I have to do is defrost and bake.  I cannot wait!

And I don’t think I’ll be buying any grocery store pitas ever again!

Whole-wheat Pita
Adapted from: Cooking Light (March 2009)

1 tbsp sugar
1 package dry yeast
1 cup & 2 tbsp warm water
10 oz bread flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
4.75 oz whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup)
2 tbsp plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt

In a large bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in the 1 cup & 2 tbsp of water water.  Stir it around until all of the granules have dissolved.  Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes.

I had used our stand mixer with the dough attachment (looks like a hook), but you can do this using your hands.  Into the sugar-yeast liquid, slowly add all of the bread flour, about 3 oz of the whole-wheat flour (3/4 cup), yogurt, oil and salt.  Keep mixing the ingredients until the dough is smooth.  If you did this in a stand mixer, take out the dough and knead it until the dough is elastic (about 5-10 minutes).  As your kneading it, keep adding the rest of the whole-wheat flour, a little at a time (until the dough stops being sticky).

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, and drop the dough ball inside.  Flip the dough around, so all of the sides are coated with the cooking spray.  Cover the bowl and allow it to rise in a warm place.  Leave it out until it has doubled in size, for at least an hour (I left mine out for about 3 hours).

Once the dough has risen, divide it into 8 pieces.  Preheat the oven to 500ºF, and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Take each portion one at a time and roll it out into about a 5-inch circle.  If the dough is sticky, use some flour on the rolling pin, your hands and the surface you’re working on.  Place the dough circle on the baking sheet, and into the oven on the lowest rack.  Bake the pita for about 8-10 minutes, until it has puffed up.  Take it out and let it cool before cutting into it.  Enjoy it with some hummus.