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Wheat-Berry Bread

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This is another hearty, wholesome bread with a delicious, nut-like flavor. You can buy wheat berries in any health food store or in any market that sells whole grains. Few people will be able to identify them in the bread.

2 large loaves

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 4 hours

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Taste and Texturenutty

Type of Dishbread, yeast bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup wheat berries
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons (3 packets) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 8 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2-4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornmeal for the baking sheet

Instructions

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then add the wheat berries. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed. Add the cold water to the cooked berries, then transfer the mixture (be sure it’s no more than lukewarm) to a dishpan or large bowl. Add the lukewarm water, yeast, honey, oil, and salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the whole wheat flour and continue stirring for 1 or 2 minutes, or until well blended.

  2. Add 1 cup of white flour, then squeeze the mixture with your hands until the flour disappears. If it is too wet to pick up, add a little more flour. As soon as you can handle the dough, sprinkle with a bit more flour and begin to knead directly in the bowl (or on a floured board), adding more flour as necessary. Knead for 7 or 8 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and easy to handle. Shape into a ball.

  3. Spread a little oil on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the ball of dough, then turn it over, oiled side up. Cover and set in a warm spot for about an hour, or until the dough doubles in bulk. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a large baking sheet and set aside.

  4. Punch down the risen dough, knead for a minute to eliminate any large air bubbles that cling to the berries, and form into a ball. Cut in half, then shape each half into a round. Place the loaves on the prepared baking sheet, leaving enough space between them to allow for expansion.

  5. Cut a ½-inch-deep cross on top of each loaf. Place in a cold oven, then turn the temperature to 350°F. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the loaves are browned and hollow-sounding when rapped on the bottom with your knuckle. Cool on a wire rack before serving.

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