I decided for my next attempt at a loaf of whole wheat bread I would try a King Arthur flour recipe that received rave reviews online. The ingredients were a little bit odd – nonfat dry milk, instant potato flakes, orange juice, amongst others – but I trust King Arthur’s.
On Saturday then I mixed the ingredients together and set my old kitchenaid mixer to kneading, and the dough – instead of looking like a ball – looked like streusel topping. It was very frustrating! It would go together in a ball when I pushed it so with my hands, but the minute the dough hook started kneading it again it would return to its streusel format. Owen came into the kitchen at this point, because he likes to share in the anger. I roared; he roared. I stamped my foot; he stamped his. I called my mother and she did not answer her phone. But then I noticed that the recipe had King Arthur’s baking hotline number printed on it! How convenient!
I called it and talked to a nice woman who informed me that I measured the flour incorrectly – I scooped instead of spooning the flour into the cup. Apparently when you scoop you get too much flour in, because it isn’t aerated properly. She suggested I keep adding tablespoons of water until it came together, and then also to let it sit for thirty minutes so that the whole wheat flour can start breaking down. I did both and it worked!
While I had her on the phone, I also asked why the recipe seemed to omit the punching down between the two risings – the best part of making bread according to my four year old. She informed me that one now no longer punches bread dough (alas!) but just releases the air while shaping it into a loaf.
Anyway, it rose beautifully twice and cooked well, and other than having a bit of trouble getting it out of the pan (note to self: don’t take it literally when instructions say to “lightly grease”), the loaf was quite respectable and tasted delicious. It was so good, that Owen had a slice as a snack, and even requested it again at dinner, without even needing it to be slathered with butter!
I shall attempt it again – perhaps next Saturday so I can take advantage of the orange juice I bought for my first attempt. If anyone is interested in trying it, it’s King Arthur Flour’s “100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread.”