My breads have been getting more and more….chunky. And chewy. Years ago I baked a lot of bread with wheatberries, but have fallen out of the habit. Last week I cooked up a whole pot of them (see information on how to do that on Kate’s blog) and I’ve been using them in bread every day. We have been eating AMAZING bread. Considering the amount of bread that we go through, it needs to pack as big a punch as I can give it!
Molasses Wheat Berry Bread
Stir together and make a sponge with:
- 1 1/2 c. cooked wheatberries (read below about the importance of cooking these completely)
- 2 c. very hot water
- 1/2 c. molasses
- 2 t. salt
- 2 T. yeast
- 2 T. oil
- 2 c. whole wheat flour
Let this sponge bubble and froth for about 45 minutes.
Then use the dough hook on the mixer and speed 2 to knead in approximately 2.5 c. whole wheat flour and 1.5 c. white bread flour. (Remember that the exact amount of flour that you need will vary with the humidity in the air and in your ingredients.) Add enough flour that the dough starts to form a ball on the hook but does not clear the sides. Whole wheat dough that has too much flour will end up dry and crumbly.
Let dough rise until doubled in size. This might take longer than regular white bread dough. Give it time to rise.
After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and form into two oblong balls. Put the balls of dough into greased glass loaf pans. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until just double. Don’t let this particular bread over-rise or you’ll end up with bread that doesn’t want to hold together. The wheat berries will end up being too heavy for the over-stretched gluten fibers to hold up.
Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature (as measured by a quick-read thermometer) of the loaves is 185°. Cool on rack completely before slicing.
This makes a delicious, moist brown loaf of chewy bread. It is CRITICAL that the wheatberries are thoroughly cooked before making this bread. The berries that end up on the top of the loaves will crisp up during baking. If they’ve been thoroughly cooked, they’ll be a nice, nutty crunchy texture. If they have NOT been thoroughly cooked, they’ll end up hard enough to break your teeth. Seriously. Breaking teeth on a piece of bread would take a lot of explaining to the dentist.
My boys say that the best way to eat this bread is while it is still warm…with lots of melty butter and homemade blueberry jam.
ADDED NOTE: My sister-in-law, Michele, asked me where in the world does one find wheatberries. My first reaction was, “In my pantry!” I have several huge sealed buckets of wheatberries that I was given out of someone’s Y2K stash, so to be honest, I have not bought wheatberries in forever. And I won’t buy them for a few more years! I would go looking for them in the part of the grocery store where you can buy seeds and grains out of bins. Any health food store should also have wheatberries. I don’t think they’ll be expensive. Maybe some of you who buy wheatberries regularly can help me out on this.