I have been a fan of King Arthur Flour for a long time. They have been grinding flour for 200 years and they really seem to have it down. Their organic whole wheat, if treated right and soaked the night before in a slightly acid solution, rises as high as white flour in my experience. They have a huge product line and they offer recipes on line and classes in their headquarters in New England.
This recipe was inspired by a King Arthur recipe from Azerbaijan and was a blast to make. The dough was easy to handle and roll, the bread was delicious, crisp on the outside and tender inside, stuffed with raisins, nuts and cinnamon sugar. And check out the photograph, the loaf is beautiful (even if the photograph isn’t. Anjuli is the photographer, not me!) I hope you have as much fun making this as I did.
Note: Anjuli and I always soak our whole grains in a slightly acidulated solution. It makes the bread more digestible and rises as high as white flour even though made with whole grain. Perhaps even more importantly, whole grain has phytic acid which bonds with the minerals in the grain and makes them less available for our bodies to absorb. The acidulated solution breaks down the phytic acid. So if you want to get all those great goodies that whole grain provides, soak your grains, my dears. It is not hard, I promise, and you will be really glad you did. We soak a minimum of 7 hours and up to 24. -Weezie
Ingredients (all were Organic)
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 tablespoon ghee
3 tablespoons high gluten flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
Up to 2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest or 1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons ghee
1/3 cup sugar mixed with
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
Soak overnight. Measure out the whole wheat flour into a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add the water and 1 tablespoon ghee. Mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter or in a cold oven overnight to soak.
Mix the dough. Add the high gluten flour, sugar, zest, and yeast. Mix thoroughly with a spoon. Cover the bowl with a plate again and leave it for 1/2 hour. Now turn the dough out on a floured board and gradually mix in enough all purpose flour to create a dough that is tacky but not sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Let it rise. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, under an hour.
Shape the dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and gently deflate it into the shape of a square. Now roll the dough until it is a 23” square, 1/8 inch thick. If it “fights” back meaning it shrinks back when you have just rolled it, let it rest for 5 minutes and then continue rolling. Paint the dough surface with half of the ghee, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, then the raisins and nuts. Roll the dough, jelly roll fashion and seal the seam by pinching. Now gently squeeze this rope you have just created until it is 5 feet long. Grease a cookie sheet and loosely coil the rope on the cookie sheet. Paint with ghee, cover and let rise until doubled, 40 – 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 F during the last 15 minutes of the rise.
Bake the bread. Bake the bread until deeply golden brown, 30 – 45 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Traditionally you serve and tear off hunks. But I have also sliced it. It makes great toast.