The other day the wind blew in like nothing I’ve seen in years. Gust were in the upwards of 60mph. Schools and businesses were closed; many were without electricity; windows on some homes and businesses blew in. This photo doesn’t really do it justice, but here’s a picture of my street. It was garbage day.
I happened to have off work that day, and stupidly (I can say in retrospect) I chose to run some errands on my bike. Weeha!!! is all that I can say. Between the wind pushing and pulling me and dodging flying debris I really do think it was a stupid thing to do.
None the less, when I came to my senses and returned home I did what I often do on days off…baked bread. I recently purchased Peter Reinhart’s new book, Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor, and have to say that like his other books it is really excellent. I made the basic recipe, which all the recipes in the book based. I’ve never made bread with 100% whole wheat flour (I usually use 50% whole wheat and 50 % unbleached white bread flour), and I have to admit that I was more than a little dubious from the onset. I’ve always found bread made with 100% whole wheat a bit heavy, but this was really wonderful.
Two methods he uses to create both lightness and flavor are the pre-ferment (which is common to most serious bakers), and a “soaker,” which is what I believe created lightness in the whole wheat. A soaker is nothing more than soaking the whole wheat flour for a period of time (hence it’s name) to soften the whole wheat.
I made a double batch and used half of it to make pizza for my son and I.