Whole Wheat Bread

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Whole Wheat Bread

Make a Soaker:  Mix 1-3/4 c. (8 oz.) Gianforte Bread flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. scalded milk cooled to room temp.  Stir together 1 minute until all flour is hydrated.  Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature 12-24 hours.

Make a Biga:  Mix 1-3/4 (8 oz.) Gianforte bread flour, 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast and 3/4 cup water.  Stir to mix.  Using wet hands, knead 2 minutes.  Let dough rest 5 minutes.  Using wet hands knead again 1 minute.  Dough will be tacky.  Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate 8+ hours.  Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before using.

Final Dough:  Chop all the Starter and Biga into 24 smaller pieces.  Dust with flour.  Combine all pieces in large bowl with:  7 Tbsp. (2 oz.) Gianforte bread flour, 5/8 tsp salt, 2-1/4 tsp instant yeast, 2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter or vegetable oil, and 2-1/4 Tbsp honey or 3 Tbsp. sugar.  Knead with wet hands 2 minutes until dough is soft and slightly sticky.  Dust work surface with flour and knead dough 3-4 minutes so it is soft and tacky but not sticky.  Let dough rest 5 minutes before kneading one more minute.  Place dough ball ingo lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise 45 - 60 min.  Transfer to lightly floured work surface, shape and place in greased bread pan.  Cover and rise 45 - 60 min.  Place in preheated 425 deg. oven, lower to 350 deg. and bake 20 min.  Rotate and bake another 20 to 30 minutes.  Finished bread lifts easily from the pan, sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom.  Remove from pan immediated and cool at least 1 hour before serving.

Source:  Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, Ten Speed Press, 2007.  A must for anyone wishing to bake with whole grains.