I had the most delicious roasted mushroom and caramelized onion toast at Ladybird in the East Village a few weeks back, and ever since then, my palate has been hooked on all things mushroom. Inspired by the delicious simplicity of the dish, I decided to try my hand at recreating it, from scratch… which meant also baking the perfect loaf of bread to act as a vehicle for the scrumptious roasted mushrooms and caramelized onions. And what a ride it has been!
Since today is quite gloomy, I thought I’d share a yummy whole wheat bread recipe. It is delicious as is, but somehow even more delicious once toasted. Enjoy with sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onion, a generous smear of roasted garlic hummus, and sliced avocado for a spin on Ladybird’s creation, or simply enjoy with butter and Bee Local honey or Gus and Grey jam. The moral of the story…. The bread itself is so delicious that it doesn’t really matter what you top it with! So let your creativity soar!
When baking a whole wheat or whole grain bread, there are a few tips to remember. Unlike processed white flour in which the bran and the germ are removed, whole grains are fully intact with the bran, germ, and endosperm, and therefore require more moisture to ensure that the bread once baked is not too dry or crumbly. Due to the excess moisture, as well as the added bran and germ, whole grain bread is heavier than bread made with processed white flour, so additional time for the bread to rise is necessary to ensure the proper texture. Also, avoid over kneading! Lastly, depending on the humidity in the air, more or less flour than the recipe calls for may be needed, as making the perfect bread is all about feel — so if your bread doesn’t turn out great the first time, don’t fret and simply try again.
Whole Wheat Bread
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 cups warm water
5-6 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
-preheat oven to 375°
-make sponge: In large bowl, combine yeast, water, and 2 cups of whole wheat flour, stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 30 minutes.
-Prepare the Bread:
- Add salt and just enough flour to create a dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- Turn dough out onto a clean and floured work surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes, adding remaining flour as necessary, until a smooth dough is formed. The dough should be moist, but not sticky.
- Transfer dough to a clean and lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and proof in a warm place for 50 to 60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
- Prepare loaf pans with oil and parchment paper.
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch down, and allow to rise one more time.
- Divide dough in half, form into two loaves, and transfer to loaf pans. Allow to rise again, under a damp towel, for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Bake bread for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. If using a thermometer, the internal temp should register between 190° and 205° F.