Bulgur Whole Wheat Bread
I’ve been wanting to make my own bread for a while and when I saw this recipe for ‘cracked wheat’ bread that uses coarse bulgur and whole wheat flour, I knew I found the bread for me. I adore hearty grainy breads that do a good job of filling me up and this bread did exactly that. In case you’re wondering, just like cracked wheat, bulgur is made from wheat berries, but bulgur is ground from precooked berries while wheat comes from the raw form. So while this bread tastes a lot like cracked wheat bread, the bulgur makes it lighter and a lot less dense. It has a great nutty flavor and has just the right amount of moisture. The bread making process was actually really easy, but there was a lot of in between down time for rising. You first make a sponge, let it rise, and then incorporate the flour and rise a few more times. The kneading is the most difficult part and definitely gives your arms and wrists a workout, but you only knead for about 10 minutes which isn’t so bad. If you find yourself at home on a rainy weekend day definitely think about giving this a try. You’ll end up with plenty of high quality bread for a fraction of the price you’d pay at any bakery. The bread freezes well (make sure it is tightly wrapped) and goes especially well with a little bit of butter and marmalade. It will stay fresh for five days, but refrigerate after three.
‘Cracked Wheat’ Bread
recipe from NYTimes Recipes for Health
- 2 1/2 t active dry yeast
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 2 Tb mild honey
- 1 Tb blackstrap molasses
- 1 cup coarse bulgur
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 Tb salt
- 2 cups whole wheat flour, plus some extra for kneading
- 1 egg, beaten with 2 Tb water for egg wash
1) Making the sponge: in a large bowl, combine yeast and water and dissolve completely. Add honey and molasses and stir. Whisk in bulgur and the flours one cup at a time. Whisk this a hundred times (about 2 minutes) [I did this in a mixer]. Scrape down sides, cover tightly with plastic, and leave in warm spot to rise for an hour until it is bubbly.
2) Add the oil and fold with a spatula. Fold in the salt. Fold in 1 cup whole wheat flour. Place some of the second cup of flour on work surface and fold it into the dough by kneading. Once it has absorbed the flour, incorporate the rest of that 2nd cup. Flour hour hands and work surface and knead for 10 minutes until dough is elastic and spring pack when poked (can add some more flour here). Shape the dough into a ball.
3) Coat a clean bowl with oil and place dough inside. Then flip the dough so the whole ball is coated with oil. Cover bowl with plastic and let rise in warm spot for an hour (want it to double).
4) Punch down dough, cover bowl, let rise for another hour.
5) Preheat oven to 375. Divide dough into two. Shape into loaves (if using 9 x 5 inch bread pans. If using smaller, this can make three smaller loaves). Oil pans, place loaves into pans seam side up first, then seam side down. Cover with damp towel and let rise for 30 min till middle of loaves rises above the edges.
6) Brush loaves with egg wash. With a sharp knife cut 3 1/2 inch deep slashes across the top of each loaf.
7) Bake 50-60 minutes, brushing with egg wash half way through. Bread will be golden brown and make a hollow sound when tapped. Remove from pans and cool on rack.