Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sandwich Bread with Spent Grains

Back in February, I made a post about Artisan Bread from Spent Grains, and a friend mentioned that we didn't really need to use loaf pans for that. She's right, but if you use the same recipe with a few minor tweaks, you can make really delicious sandwich bread, too. This might be a touch repetitive, but pay close attention to the differences.

Sandwich Bread with Spent Grains

Ingredients (makes 2 loaves):

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 3/4 cup filtered water (at room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup spent grain
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached bread flour
  • about 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt

Combine the yeast and water in a bowl and stir until dissolved. Add the flour to the spent grain (it’s best to do this right after brewing so the grain is still moist), then stir in the yeast solution. Mix everything together with a spatula until combined into a wet dough, then cover the bowl with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave it out on the counter overnight to ferment and grow in size.

Transfer the dough starter to the bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the flour, water, honey, and salt with the starter. Using the dough hook attachment on low speed, mix the dough for 10-12 minutes. The texture of the dough should be slightly smoother than what you'd want for baguettes- I like taking the dough out of the mixer and kneading by hand so I know exactly how it feels. It's hard to describe the perfect consistency, but it should just barely be floured enough not to stick to your fingers.

After kneading, set the dough aside in a bowl that’s been lightly oiled, cover it with plastic wrap, and leave it for 4-6 hours more (this is longer than we'd wait for the dense baguette-shaped loaves).

Now that the dough has increased in size again, remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured counter top or flat work surface. Knead and roll the dough out with a floured rolling pin (it's good to put some flour on your hands as well) and divide it into two equal portions.

Re-flour your work surface and flatten out each section into an approximate rectangle about ½ inch thick. Roll up each of the rectangular dough sections into tight cylinders, pinching together the ends and the seam (the seam will be the bottom of the loaf). Lightly grease 2 loaf pans, and place in the rolled dough. Wait another couple of hours, or as long as it takes to expand to the size of the loaf pan's base, like this:

Raw bread dough that's expanded in the loaf pans. This is ready for the oven.

Preheat oven to 450° F, and place a metal tray on the bottom rack for steaming. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then rotate the pans, add more steam, and bake for another 15 minutes. A finished loaf should be brown on top, golden to dark depending on the type of grains you used. As a matter of preference, we've found that the darker grains with a higher SRM (such as black patent) don't look or taste as good in sandwich bread because of their strong flavor. So we recommend sticking to lighter grains like pale malt and saving the darker stuff for other baked goods.

Let the loaves cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, slice, and serve!

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