Hartog Bakery's Whole Wheat Bread Recipe -- Traditional Volkorenbrood
This easy recipe for whole wheat bread came to us via an artisan baker in Amsterdam. So, roll up those sleeves and prepare for a flour fest.
- Serves: 20 persons
- 4cups (500 grams) whole wheat flour
- ⅔tablespoon (10 grams) salt
- 1 ⅕cups (300 milliliters) cold tap water, plus 1/2 cup (100 milliliters) if needed
- 1 ½tablespoons (20 grams) live yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Step 1Measure out the flour and salt and mix into a pile on a clean flat work surface.
Step 2Using your hands, make a "dam" in the middle, making sure that all sides of this "dike" of flour and salt is of an even thickness, so that the dam won't break when you add the water. The dam should measure about 8 inches across (about 20 cm), roughly the length between the tips of the thumb and pinkie finger of an average sized hand when stretched out and spread as wide as they can go.
Step 3Dissolve the fresh yeast in the water by rubbing the yeast between your thumb and your forefinger until it's completely dissolved.
Step 4Add the water to the dam. Just add a bit at first to see if the dike holds, and if it does, add the rest.
Step 5Using the tips of your fingers start amalgamating the inner edges of the flour with the water and upping your tempo keep mixing until you have a thoroughly mixed dough.
Step 6Now start kneading the dough , pushing it away from you with the ball of your hand and using your fingers to bring it back towards you. Try to keep a good tempo here, kneading by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook attachment, adding up to 1/2 cup of additional water, as needed. Make sure the dough is wet but not sloppy.
Step 7After 15 minutes of kneading, the dough should feel wet and supple (spongy), but not sticky. If you stretch the dough into a ball you shouldn't be able to see cracks on the surface and you should be able to stretch it (this means that the gluten has been activated).
Step 8Form a ball with the dough and wrap it in a (clean) warm, damp tea towel.
Step 9Allow to rise for 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature. The dough will increase by about 1/3 in volume. Remove the tea towel, pummel the dough with your fists and then form it back into a ball, wrap in the tea towel and again allow to rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
Step 10Grease a bread tin with olive oil.
Step 11Wet the work surface with some water.
Step 12Remove the tea towel from the dough and press the dough flat onto the wet work surface.
Step 13Shape the dough into a sausage-like shape with your hands, so that it is roughly the same length as the bread tin and place into the bread tin.
Step 14Cover the bread tin with the warm moist tea towel and allow the bread to rise for another 30 minutes, or until it has increased by 1/3 in volume.
Step 15Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 428 F (220 C).
Step 16Reduce the temperature to 392 F (200 C) and place the bread in the oven.
Step 17Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Step 18Remove the bread from the tin. If you knock on the baked bread, it should sound hollow. If it doesn't, return to the oven and bake a little longer.
Step 19Allow to cool on a wire cooling rack. Tips: Buy the best, freshly milled whole wheat flour and check that there are no additives: the only ingredient should be the wheat. After all, the whole point of baking your own bread is for it to be pure and wholesome, without all those additives, sugars, fats, bread improver and other rubbish you'll find in many commercial loaves. It's important to use fresh yeast here. These little cakes of solid yeast can be bought at bakers and health/whole foods stores. Always buy this ingredient fresh, because fresh yeast doesn't store well.