When I bought my Komo grain mill last year, I went through a period of experimentation. Simply replacing white flour with freshly milled whole wheat didn’t work very well. I had many heavy, dense loaves that tasted great but didn’t work well for sandwiches. I had more success using recipes from Peter Reinhart’s “Whole Grain Breads” which uses an epoxy method and is a two day process.
I also had Sue Becker’s “The Essential Home-Ground Flour Book” that was written for use with freshly ground flour. Both books are wonderful, but the Sue Becker book is truly essential if you are new to milling grain. I was put off making the recipes initially because all of the measurements were in either cups or milliliters, so both by volume instead of weight.
I decided to just dive in and try and weigh my ingredients after I had measured them to get a baseline. That worked well and I scaled the recipe of her basic bread to get two 800g loaves. I made some more modifications to make it vegan, which luckily she gives many tips in her book.
This is now my go-to weekly bread. It’s a one day method, which makes it easier to fit into my schedule.
This week I was able to use my organic white wheat berries that I bought from King’s Roost LA. The grain is sweet and fresh smelling and made lovely flour.
Sponge Method – In a large mixing bowl, combine the hot water, half the flour and the yeast to form a thick batter known as a sponge. The sponge is allowed to ferment until bubbly. It can be left to ferment for as little as 10 minutes or as long as several hours, either at room temperature or covered and refrigerated overnight. If refrigerated, the sponge must be allowed to come to room temperature before continuing with the recipe. During the second stage, the remaining ingredients excluding the flour, are added to the sponge. The remaining flour is then added 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough forms. The dough is then kneaded and allowed to rise, if desired. While this is fermenting, mix 1 tablespoon flax meal with 3 tablespoons water to make a flax “egg”. It will thicken as it sits making it gelatinous and egg like.
Direct Method – In a large mixing bowl, combine hot water, oil, maple syrup, and salt, flax egg, liquid lecithin and gluten if using.
Add 3 cups flour and mix just until a thick batter forms. Sprinkle yeast overtop and continue mixing. While mixing, gradually add just enough remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time to form a soft dough.
Knead dough until smooth and elastic until it passes the window-pane test, 5 to 6 minutes. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Using your hands, shape into loaves and place in prepared pans. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 45 minutes.
While loaves are still rising, preheat oven to 350ºF.
Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of loaf registers at least 190ºF. Remove bread from pans and transfer to a wire rack to cool.