This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.
Wheat Germ Bread
7 cups white unbleached flour
1 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon dry (granulated) yeast
2.5 cups warm water
2 teaspoonfuls salt
2 tablespoonfuls olive oil
Mix the yeast with about 1/2 cup of the warm water. Leave for about 10 minutes, by which time the yeast should have begun to foam.
Put the flour, wheat-germ and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir and add the oil and the remaining water gradually, always stirring, until the dough forms a ball but doesn't become so sticky that it sticks to your fingers. There is no precise way of knowing when your dough will be ready except by experience... You really have to go on how the dough feels and looks. As you knead you can add more water or flour if it is needed. Thankfully, bread isn’t one of those things that require a perfect balance of ingredients. Furthermore, once you've made bread a few times you will learn to tell exactly when your dough is right.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Every so often sprinkle the board with more flour as you knead, or the dough will stick. Knead by pushing the heels of your hand into the dough, folding it back on itself, turning it around, and generally giving it a good work out. Kneading generally takes about 10 minutes but again the best way to tell is by experience and just by feeling it. It should be satiny, springy, elastic and smooth.
Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a clean, damp tea-towel. Leave somewhere warm to rise (under a blanket in winter). It will take between one and three hours to rise, depending on the ambient temperature. You can tell when it’s ready in two ways: Firstly, it should have doubled in bulk. Secondly, give it a little poke with your finger. If the indentation disappears let it rise some more. If it stays in the dough, it is ready to be shaped.
Now, take out your aggression by punching the dough down. Knead for about 3 minutes, and then shape the dough. The possibilities here are endless. Loaves, rolls, plaits, twists, knot rolls, cottage loaves, wherever your imagination takes you. Put your loaves or rolls or whatever onto a greased pan or bread tray, cover with a damp cloth, and leave to “prove” (i.e. rise again; this is quicker than the initial rising, and will take about 45 minutes).
Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C. Loaves should be left to cook for about 40 minutes, rolls need about 20 minutes. The bread is ready when it has a nice brown crust. Also, you can tip the loaf out of its pan, and tap its base. It should sound hollow. If it doesn’t, put it back in the tin and leave it bake for a little while longer.