Sprouted Whole Wheat Bread, Master Formula
(Makes one large load, two smaller loaves or up to 15 rolls)
Presented by Chef Peter Reinhart, Johnson & Wales University
This master dough can be used to make any number of shapes and sizes. It showcases the natural sweetness and tenderness of sprouted wheat flour without the addition of oil, fat, or other enrichments such as milk, eggs, and sweeteners. Sprouting the wheat changes it enough so that many of the rules for artisan breads, such as the use of preferments and long, slow rising times, can be accomplished by the flour itself in less time because the enzyme activity provided by long fermentation and preferments is already accomplished during the sprouting phase.
Note: you will need a few teaspoons of vegetable or olive oil for this to make an oil slick on your work surface for the stretch and folds required.
If using an electric mixer, use the paddle attachment not the hook, mixing on slow speed. Or, in a mixing bowl, use a large spoon. Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the mixing bowl and then add the water. Mix or stir for approximately 1 minute or until all the flour is absorbed and forms a coarse, wet dough. Do not add more flour, as the dough will thicken while it sits.
Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes, Then, if using an electric mixer, increase to medium slow speed (or continue mixing with the spoon) and mix for one additional minute. The dough should become smooth but but will still be very soft and sticky.
Using 1 teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil, make an oil slick on the work surface. Use a wet or oiled plastic bowl scraper, or a rubber spatula, and transfer the dough to the oil slick. Rub a small amount of oil on your hands and stretch and fold the dough. The dough will firm up slightly but still be very soft and somewhat sticky. Cover the dough with the mixing bowl and then, at 5 minute intervals, perform three additional stretch and folds (s&f). Note: these intervals can be extended to up to twenty minutes each; with each s&f, lightly oil your hands to prevent sticking. The dough should firm up a little more with each s&f. By the final fold, it will become soft and supple, tacky, and have a springy or "bouncy" quality when patted. After the fourth and final s&f place the dough in an oiled bowl or container, cover with plastic wrap or a lid (do not lay the plastic wrap on the dough, but stretch it tightly over the bowl or container), and ferment the dough at room temperature for approximately 90 minutes (this time can be shortened if using a warm proof box set anywhere up to 90℉ / 32℃). The dough should double in size.
Make another oil slick on the work surface and use an oiled bowl scraper or rubber spatula to transfer the dough to the slick. Shape the dough for either hearth baking or for a sandwich loaf, or divide and shape it for smaller loaves or rolls. Place the shaped dough in an oiled loaf pan, a floured proofing basket (such as a banneton), on a couche, or on a parchment lined sheet pan (or use a silicon baking pad). Mist the top of the dough with spray oil and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Proof for 60 to 90 minutes at room temperature, or until the dough grows by 1 1/2 times in size. (Note: because the dough is so fully hydrated it is fragile and will fall if you proof to double in size. It is better to bake it while it is still on the rise and, when poked with your finger, it should spring back within a few seconds rather than hold the dimple.)
Preheat the oven and prepare it for hearth baking and steaming. If using a baking stone, the stone will require at least 45 minutes of preheating.
If hearth baking, transfer the dough to a lightly floured peel (if baking directly on the sheet pan you do not need to transfer it). Score the dough as desired. Transfer the dough onto the baking stone and add 1 cup of water to the steam pan. For hearth bread, bake at 450℉/232℃ with steam, for approximately 30 to 35 minutes. If using a loaf pan, bake at 375℉/191℃ for approximately 45-55 minutes, steam is optional. If using a convection oven, reduce temperatures by 25℉/14℃. In most ovens, it will probably be necessary to rotate the loaves after about 15 minutes for even baking. When the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190℉/88℃ for soft loaves, or 200℉/93℃ for crusty hearth bread remove it from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
--For a crisper crust, turn off the oven when the bread appears to be done but leave the bread in for an additional 5 minutes to drive off more moisture. You can also return the cooled bread to a hot oven, 450℉/232℃, for 5 minutes to re-crisp the crust prior to serving.
--If using the overnight method, transfer the covered bowl of dough to the refrigerator immediately after the final stretch and fold. The next day, remove it from the refrigerator 3 1/2 hours before you plan to bake. Shape the cold dough and proof it at room temperature, proceeding as described.