Making a whole wheat bread without adding any all purpose flour or Maida is a challenging task. Especially if you are trying to emulates a texture and look that is similar to the store bought white crap of a bread. The one that just looks right, every other property of a good bread as gone for a toss.
It's a no-brainer that home made whole wheat breads would be the solution to many of us who like our breads either daily or occasionally. I keep fortifying my bread with different things to make it more interesting every time and a few of them work like magic to bring the bread scale up for whole wheat. This one is such a bread. The addition of chopped spinach and Dill from my garden (this was made in the last winters) and some freshly made soft Paneer makes this bread very soft and supple. Very very flavorful as well, spinach and dill are a match made in heaven. Fenugreek greens and dill works great as well.
The pictures are taken by my older point and shoot camera as I mentioned this bread was made some time back. I had posted about it on my page and a few friends requested the recipe. Thanks to them this bread reaches the blog today :-)
Let's see how I made the mixture of the chopped greens and herb with salt (minimal) and pepper to taste. Freshly made crumbled paneer was also added to the same. Do not get tempted to add garlic if you are using Dill. The flavors will be quite clashing and the freshness of Dill will be lost. If it is just spinach and garlic, it would work great.
Then the mixture was given a good stir, I used my hands to mix it properly so the paneer crumbles will and gets distributed evenly. Note that the paneer would hold it's volume while baking but the herbs would shrink considerably, so even though the green looks voluminous in the mixture, the quantity and flavors will be balanced in the bread.
A basic whole wheat dough was made and proofed. I decided to make some pull apart rolls and a herbs loaf with this. So half of the dough was used for the roll and the other half for the loaf.
See how the air bubbles have formed in the rising dough. This is when I pulled apart half of the dough for the stuffed rolls.
The dough was rolled out into a rectangle, using the back of a baking tray (oiled well) was convenient in doing so. Note that I use a textured rolling pin so that minimal pressure is applied on the dough while rolling as it spreads. If you have a rolling pin that rolls, the best.
Now half of the spinach and paneer mixture was spread over the rolled out dough...
The sheet was rolled up starting from the longer side, keeping the roll as tight as you can.Oiling your hands is helpful in doing this. The edges properly sealed and secured and then a marking is done to approximate the size of rolls.
Cut and arranged in a baking dish. Keeping some distance between them as the rolls would expand before and during baking. Keep them covered with a lid, not touching the rolls.
Being whole wheat and because I preferred rolling the sheet quite thin, they expanded little. Still satisfactory.
Bake these rolls in a preheated oven for 20 minutes to half an hour at 200 C. Depending upon how large your rolls are. I applied fresh cream over the rolls and then baked them again for 5 minutes. The cream melts very fast on hot bread.
Wanted a creamy flavor with these herbs. The cream disappears after the final 5 minute bake but lends a nice creamy taste to the baked rolls.You would notice that the rolls are browned just too much. That was because of my carelessness. I was talking to a friend over phone when I switched on the oven and only the upper filament was on. I didn't notice till I saw the rolls getting browned too fast. Correction was done halfway the process. Rolls salvaged in time.
The aroma of this bread is irresistible. I didn't wait to cool the rolls before I pulled them apart. Don't do this if you are planning to serve this bread for a formal meal.The edges of the rolls wont be as neat as you would want them to be. See these hurriedly pulled apart rolls to believe my word..
These are lovely, aromatic, flavorful rolls. We loved them with Chai and for breakfasts. Were a nice snack too, more like a replacement to samosa I would say. That yummy.
The other half of the dough was kneaded with the half of the greens and paneer mixture. Then the dough was set out for a second rise.
A rough free form loaf shaped and baked at 200 C for half hour.
A light weight bread comes out of the oven and is brushed with some fresh cream again. You might like to use EVOO or butter for this purpose. I just went with my love for cream going with these herbs and paneer mix.
Cooled down on a wire rack. This one escaped my knife attack as the rolls were doing the rounds till it was baked. The slices come out neat when you cool down the bread completely. All the steam escapes and make the bread suitable for clean slicing.
If sliced while hot, the steam escapes sooner, making the slices and the un-sliced loaf of bread dry, tough and chewy. After a long step wise demonstration of this bread, do you still feel bread baking is a difficult chore?
Doesn't this bread tempt you?
Now know a bit about how to make a whole wheat dough gluten strong, even without adding additional gluten to it. To make the dough for a whole wheat bread, you start with yeast of your choice. Take the requisite amount and make it froth in warm water, flour and sugar solution. My yeast starts normally with a tbsp of fresh yeast, 2 tbsp of flour, 1 tsp of sugar in a cup of lukewarm water. A pinch of salt thrown in is a good idea to feed the yeast.
As soon as the yeast becomes lively, pour it into the bowl that you would use for kneading. Add 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour to the bowl and another half cup of warm water.You would see the yeast becoming almost happy bubbling as you add the flour. It froths some more as soon as you mix it up. Now is the time to build up strength in the dough. This mixture looks like a slurry and you have to whip it using your bare hands in a clockwise manner . You would notice the slurry is loose and allows smooth whipping in the beginning and starts becoming stringy and strong as you go on. Later it resists your clockwise action. A count of 100 whips is enough, this tip I got from a Lebanese bread blog whose link I forgot to save. Once the slurry like dough is stronger, move on to add more flour and required amount of warm water to knead the dough. For this quantity, 2 cups of flour will be good enough.
Once the dough is formed, after a sticky phase to smooth and even dough, in about 30 minutes of good Biceps workout, you are good to go on with the dough. Rest it for the first rise in a warm place.
The dough is photographed in this post after the first rise, the second rise in this bread is after mixing the herbs for the loaf and rolling with the herbs for the rolls.
The quantity of greens used was about 600 gm total. Paneer 200 gm and salt and pepper to taste. The recipe and the quantities of ingredients for this bread is not set in stone, the bread will be great even if a little more or less greens or Paneer is added.
The procedure to make the dough is very important though. It has given me great loaves through the years. Plain or flavored, with seeds or with herbs. Flax seeds and sesame are my favorite seeds for breads.
hope this post helps you bake a good bread at home. Most importantly I would be glad if it inspires you to bake your bread at home.