Wheat berry bread is a hearty sandwich bread. Cooked wheat berries add texture, and the wheat bran gives the surface a nice rustic finish. The recipe makes two loaves, so you can freeze one for later.
3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked wheat berries
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons dark honey (such as buckwheat)
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups bread flour, divided
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup amaranth flour
2 tablespoons bread flour
2 tablespoons wheat bran
How to Make It
Combine water and wheat berries in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender. Drain wheat in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; set wheat berries aside.
Let reserved cooking liquid stand until warm (100° to 110°). Stir yeast into cooking liquid.
Combine milk, honey, and salt in a small, heavy saucepan, stirring with a whisk until honey and salt dissolve. Heat milk mixture over medium heat until warm (100° to 110°). Add milk mixture to yeast mixture, stirring with a whisk; let stand 5 minutes.
Lightly spoon 3 cups bread flour, whole wheat flour, and amaranth flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Stir 2 1/2 cups bread flour, whole wheat flour, and amaranth flour into yeast mixture.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add up to 1/2 cup bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray; dust each with 1 tablespoon bread flour.
Divide dough in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), knead half of wheat berries into dough; place dough in prepared pan. Sprinkle dough with 1 tablespoon wheat bran. Repeat procedure with remaining dough, wheat berries, and wheat bran. Cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until golden. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, with the exception of using buttermilk instead of milk. If I make it again, I won't knead the berries in after the first rise - I'll just add them to the dough at the beginning. It took a while (hour and a half) to rise in my cooler kitchen, and a little longer to bake, but that's not a big deal. It's really good fresh out of the oven :).
I made 2 loaves last week, kept them in Ziplock bags and they're still fresh. I couldn't find amarenth flour, so I made my own from amarenth seeds. Grind them in your coffee whirly-gig until they're the consistency of flour. A little coffee bean taste goes well in the bread and is insignificant. I also softened a cup of dried currants to the hot berry poaching liquid. I also added a cup of slivered almonds, lightly toasted, to the bread at the same time that I added the wheat berries, using my KitchenAide standing mixer. The bits that don't mix in right away can be quickly kneaded into the dough by hand. With my additions, I let it rise a bit longer. The result is a nutty bread with a lot of character and fiber. The wheat berries get quite chewy after they're baked. Don't dispair...they soften if you toast the bread lightly, which makes it even more amazing! Everyone loves it. Some spread it with cream cheese and/or preserves as a variation and it was great.
This is a great recipe. I did make several changes though because of missing ingredients. I used oat grouts in place of the wheat berries, used all-purpose and wheat flours and regular honey instead of buckwheat. And it still turned out wonderfully.
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