We love the taste of whole wheat bread, but because of it's density, I hardly ever make it. This is bread number 41 in the challenge and on page of the Bread Bake's Apprentice, by Peter Reinhart. Reinhart tells the story of wheat bread being the reason for his bread beginnings thirty something years ago, and how complex it can be to actually extract wonderful flavors without leaving a "grassy" or bitter aftertaste. I was in fact inspired by Reinhart's journey in discovering ways of improving flavors from whole wheat and so also obtained a copy of his Whole Grains book. Getting back to the subject at hand, in this particular recipe, there is the use of both a soaker and a poolish or biga, in which the longer fermentaion is supposed to balance out the bitter/grassy notes in the whole grain and improve the crumb somehow.
When I first began to think about this recipe, I decided to try a combination of whole wheat flours to see if there was any difference in flavor. I had a new bag of Trader Joe's white whole wheat, and a fairly new bag of whole wheat durum flour that I thought would make for an interesting mix.
The actual recipe calls for both a soaker of whole grains ( I used the two flours and threw in some corn grits for texture), and a biga. The Biga was actually my wild yeast that was increased to make the appropriate amount for this recipe.
The grains looked full and opened up a great deal after the soak. I combined the rest of the ingredients to make a typical bread dough and let it bulk rise until it doubled in size. The dough was then divided in half to make to loaves and placed inside bread pans.
The resulting bread was actually a lot heavier and dense than I had hoped for, but the the rustic looking loaves had a wonderful tangy taste and was delicious with soups and salads. I will try this again but use different wheat grains next time.