Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Partially Whole Wheat Boule

One way in which Sar and I are different is that she loves to wing it when it comes to cooking and I much prefer following directions.  Sure, I can throw together stir fries and things of that nature with no recipe, but when it comes to something like baking, not following a recipe can give me real anxiety.  Nothing is more upsetting than a failed attempt at a baked good.

However, when a recipe calls for 3 cups of bread flour and all you have is 2, one must improvise.  I added a cup of whole wheat flour, said a little prayer, and then went for it.  Like the first loaf, this one used the no-knead technique described by Jim Lahey in his book, My Bread.  I know that we mentioned how easy the technique is in the first post, but let me elaborate on exactly how wonderfully easy it was:

1) I stirred together the flours, water, olive oil, salt and yeast.  This took two minutes total - one of which was spent debating whether I could handle deviating from the recipe.
2) Sar and I walked around the block, bought a bottle of wine and headed up to our friend's apartment for a mini house-warming party.  
3) Sar and I headed home and went to bed.
4) I woke up at 10am the next day and had some of that Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread with cinnamon sugar for breakfast...yumm.
5) I shaped  the dough into a boule and wrapped it in a beautiful striped tea towel to rest for another hour or two.  This took about 2 minutes.  I even took pictures!

(Isn't this towel great?  We got it at Rainbow for $2.50.  A fantastic purchase - I had to share.)

6) I popped the bread into the oven and 45 minutes later had this (!!!):

There's a little rosemary sprinkled on top of the bread because I wanted to make it Rosemary Olive Oil Bread.  Turns out that I didn't put enough rosemary in/on the dough and it's just more of a Bread than anything else.  The olive oil was definitely helpful, though, since whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture than bread flour.  

The moral of this story is that deviating from a recipe isn't that scary at all.  In fact, with the no-knead method it couldn't be easier.  If you do the math, it's only a total of 4 minutes of real work!   Here's my recipe:  

Partially Whole Wheat No-Knead Loaf
Adapted from Jim Lahey's basic recipe


2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cups cool water (50-60 degrees F)
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil

1) Stir together ingredients and allow dough to rest in a warm place (75 degrees F or so) for 12-18 hours.  It should be a sticky dough, so don't be afraid if it seems wet.
2) Once dough is ready, take it out of the bowl and shape it using extra flour to keep it from sticking to your hands/work surface.  Place the rounded dough onto a cotton towel, fold the towel around the dough, and allow to rest for another hour or two.
3) 30 minutes before the dough is finished resting, place a covered dutch oven or oven-safe pot into the oven and pre-heat it to 475 degrees F.
4) When the oven is heated, carefully turn dough into the pot and cover.  Bake the bread in the covered pot for 30 minutes.
5) Remove the pot cover and continue baking until the bread is a dark chestnut color (15-20-30 minutes longer depending on your oven).
6) Ta Da!  Take your bread out of the oven, revel in it, and let it cool as long as possible before digging in.

Enjoy! - Lil


  1. Sounds too good to be true! and the towel is wonderful. Pictures are excellent - what good light you have!
    Love bread!

  2. i added like a tbspoon of brown sugar because i was skeptical of 1/4 tspoon of yeast's ability to make the dough big, and WHOA. i might not do that again... also i only used about a half cup of WW flour because i had the bread flour. but it turned out amazing! thanks guys! big fan (obvi) <3