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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Beth: Honey wheatBerry Bread Recipe

honey 'n wheatBerries

He’s as sweet as Skamokawa honey
Just like honey from the bee.
Tupelo Honey, with apologies to Van Morrison

Sometimes it is, as the kids say, all about the boy.

We all know people who have done odd things for love: run up multi-thousand phone bills, changed names and careers, moved to a city they would never have considered otherwise, or tried to replicate a mass-market loaf of bread.

Um, yeah.

Although Kevin once referred to me as one of the technicians here, I am truly a member of the magical improvisation class – hence the kitchenMage name. It’s just that I study theory natively and, having been in the kitchen since I was tippy-toe to a flour bin, I have learned many aspects of theory well enough to look technical even while making it up as I go along. (note to kids: this is a handy skill, useful in many areas of life: cultivate it)

Sure, I use recipes... every now and then. Sometimes I even use the same amount of the various ingredients as the person who wrote the book. Not always, though — I often use recipes only to provide a rough outline, which I gleefully color outside of. Truth be told, I have had to force discipline on myself to solidify a recipe long enough to post it here.

As you might imagine, I am not a huge fan of deconstructed "famous recipes." I am not likely to buy most prepackaged food, why on earth would I want to go to the effort of creating my very own homemade version of that stuff?

But then there was the boy.

This person, who shall remain 'nymless, was raised on Oroweat Honey Wheat Berry Bread, developing a deep and abiding affection for the stuff. I can see why: as commercial sandwich loaves go, it's pretty good. Dense but not heavy, a hint of sweetness and a rich taste of grain, it is particularly good toasted with a smear of butter and honey. So while it just kills me to pay three bucks a loaf for sandwich bread, I did. For quite a few years.

loaf of wheat berry breadThen Oroweat started making a fluffier version — wider slices, a bit more yeast, lighter color and flavor. Sold it in two-packs at Costco at a fairly reasonable price. Just one problem: it tastes like cheap, fluffy bread you buy in two-packs.

Now the old stuff — the good stuff — is hard to find and closer to $4 a loaf when you can lay hands on it. Clearly, something had to be done and about five years ago, I decided to. That's a long time to work on a single recipe, but it was worth it.

There is, after all, the boy. And he likes it.

kitchenMage’s Honey wheatBerry Bread
This recipe makes two large (slightly over 2 pound) loaves or ~18
US Volume metric Volume US Weight metric Weight
water 3 cups 800 ml 24 ounces 675 grams
Wheat berries 3/4 cup 175 ml 5 ounces 140 grams
Milk, room temp 3/4 cup 175 ml 6 ounces 170 grams
Whole wheat flour 1 cup 235 ml 4 1/2 ounces 125 grams
instant yeast 1 tablespoon 15 ml 3/8 ounce 12 grams
Honey 1/4 cup 60 ml 3 ounces 84 grams
Butter 1/4 cup 60 ml 2 ounce 56 grams
Bread flour 6 1/2 cups 1525 ml 29 1/4 ounces 820 grams
salt 1 tablespoon 15 ml 1/2 ounce 15 grams

Note: Each batch of wheat berries I get seems to cook in a different amount of time and absorb a different amount of water. This means that, more than many bread recipes, you may need to adjust the flour on this each time you make it. I add ~5 cups to start and then sprinkle more in as it mixes in the kitchenAid. Most of the time, I end up using ~6 1/2-7 cups, but your mileage, as always, may vary.

Preparing the wheat berries
Combine wheat berries and 3 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Cover and set aside to soak for an hour. After an hour, leave pan covered and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until wheat berries are soft and popping open. The water level will be reduced by ~1/2 cup and the wheat berries will be fat and soft. Let cool and prepare for use in dough — see sidebar for more information.

Do you like your wheat berries smooth or chunky?

There are two distinctive states of wheat berries: smooth and chunky. You need to decide which form you want your wheat berries to take and prepare them differently based on your desired results.

On one end of the continuum, there is the nuts-and-seeds style of bread, with fairly intact wheat berries. While I like this effect occasionally, particularly when making rolls (add a smidge more yeast, too), the berries have a tendency to stick out of the dough and aren't what I usually want from this bread.

Totally opposite this is the Oroweat bread that set me on this quest. This bread, oddly enough, has no discernible wheat berries, something which I always attributed to superior industrial wheat berry smooshing technology — I think I pictured something involving oompa loompas — but now I know the truth. There are no wheat berries in their bread! In fact, the first ingredient is cracked wheat! Go figure.

Lacking superior oompa-loompa based technology, the easiest way I have found to smoosh these babies is with an immersion blender. A regular blender works reasonably well, but I was less impressed with the results from the food processor.
In any case, let the cooked wheat berries cool to body temperature, ~100F (38C) and then smoosh, or not, to your heart’s content.

Mixing the dough
In mixing bowl, combine wheat berries, milk, yeast and whole wheat flour. Mix until well combined, cover and set in a warm spot until bubbly, 20 - 30 minutes.

Add the softened butter, honey and 5 1/2 cups of bread flour. Mix until it forms a shaggy mass. Continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two (or more at first), until the dough stops readily absorbing it. Mix for another minute, two if mixing by hand. The dough will still be a bit rough. Cover and let rest on the counter for 20 minutes.

If you are using a mixer: Add salt. Use the dough hook and mix it on medium for ~5 minutes, adding more flour a tablespoonful at a time, if needed, until the dough is fairly smooth. Turn it out on a well-floured counter and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is like a baby's bottom — given the wheat berries, perhaps it’s a baby with diaper rash. (sorry)

If you are making the dough by hand: Add salt. Spread a cup of flour on the counter and knead for 4 - 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Knead until the dough is, um, ready as described, perhaps a bit too graphically, above.

sliced wheat berry breadRoll the dough in flour, put it in a clean bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter, divide in half and shape into loaves. Grease two loaf pans. Put the shaped loaves in the pans and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 375F (175C). Bake bread for 45 minutes or until golden brown (~195F/90C internal temperature). Turn out of pans onto cooling rack for at least an hour.

Complete flickr set of kitchenMage's Honey wheatBerry Bread

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27 Comments:

Blogger Baking Soda said...

LOVE the baby diaper rash! I like to compare the desired stickyness of a dough with a post-it note but this will stick in my mind for a long time!

9/23/2007 3:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds great, I always liked Honey Wheatberry Bread. I do not have wheatberries at this time, but I do have spelt berries. Would that work? And would using spelt flour make the bread too heavy? Thanks.

judyinktown

9/23/2007 11:25 AM  
Blogger Shannon @ Some Fine Taters said...

I'm anxious to try this, but also don't have any wheat berries on hand or easily obtainable. I think I'll try it with cracked wheat. Any thoughts about how to adjust for that?

9/23/2007 1:37 PM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

baking soda, I am so glad you likes it! I wrote it, took it out, put it back...

judy, It has been so long since I've seen a spelt berry, I'll have to be clueless. This has a bit of yeast, which seems to counter some of the heaviness so I think it would work. But bread is all about experimentation - and the boy - so let me know after you try it.

Shannon, The 'wheat berry' bread I was basing this on used only cracked wheat so, in terms of flavor, I think you can swap it in for the berries. I'd cook it a little first, but reduce the water by ~1 cup the first time you try it to compensate for the water absorbed by the wheat berries. (You can always add more water, tough to take it out.) You should also let me know how it goes so I can keep track of variations to this. I love seeing what people do with my recipes!

9/23/2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger kerry dexter said...

Beth,
gleefully coloring outside the lines of recipes -- that describes my approach exactly. shall I tell you how your biscuit recipe has evolved?

thinkng about breads in markets got me wondering, have you ever been to Ireland? wandering the bread aisles of major supermarket chains like Tesco and M+S is a trip, on both good and bad ends of the storebought bread range.

9/23/2007 5:23 PM  
Blogger Joanna said...

This may sound strange (you say tomato, I say tomato, you say potato - well, you get the idea) ... but, what is a wheat berry?

Joanna
joannasfood.blogspot.com

9/23/2007 5:28 PM  
Blogger MizD said...

Aw, just when I found a two for one Bob's Red Mill coupon in the local paper...

(Bob's ships wheat berries elsewhere, btw, for those who might not have a local source.)

9/23/2007 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Mme. donna said...

Alright, I'm gonna try this one. It looks better than others I've seen. As I've said elseWhere (hah, a little funny), I'm on the prowl worldwide for new ideas right now. This could be a winner.

9/23/2007 10:10 PM  
Blogger Riana said...

Wheatberry refers to the entire wheat kernel, without the hull, which contains the bran, germ, and endosperm. Spelt and Farro are in the same wheat family, but a different species and can be used instead (longer soak and cook times, because of the hard hull). They taste more like barley.

I loved Orowheat bread as a kid! I am going to make this recipe today. I also put a link to it from my blog-- I have a lot of spelt!

9/24/2007 3:25 AM  
Blogger Shannon @ Some Fine Taters said...

Beth,

Here's
my version
, with cracked wheat & more whole wheat.

It was very good, even though I forgot the salt. I think it will be fabulous with the salt!

9/29/2007 9:10 PM  
Anonymous wildsheepchase said...

Oh no, you guys! I got a new job and have been seriously lacking in keeping up with this blog and baking bread. Will you forgive me? I think I have about five months to catch up with now. : (

10/06/2007 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this recipe. I am off to get ingredients to try this out this evening. Woohoo.....if this works, OroWheat will have to find another customer for their product. I am using hard wheat berries I bought in bulk at a local store in Austin.

11/06/2007 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most WONDERFUL bread recipe! I just love it! It makes the most amazing toast.

2/23/2008 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful recipe, very forgiving for beginning bakers. I had to add back more water though. By the time the berries were soft, the water was gone. I have make this 3 times now and everytime the results disappeared. Today I added a tbs of molasses(I was a little short on honey) and the flavor was even better.

7/15/2008 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Kay said...

Made this for the first time today. Next time I will oompa-loompa the wheat berries more. They are a bit more pronounced than I like.
And I used my cheap-end KA mixer. It struggled to knead 2 loaves worth of this dough. I only added the 5 1/2 cups of bread flour and had to add 2 Tb. water to get it to "baby butt" texture.

But... it tastes great and I can't wait to try it toasted tomorrow morning.
Thanks for this. I was searching for a good whole grain bread that used what I had on hand. Wheat berries I have because I mill my whole wheat flour.
Kay in Neb

8/23/2008 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Jim H. said...

Thanks a ton Beth! Haven't bought a loaf of store bought bread in the two months since trying your recipe. Two loaves on Sunday afternoon gets my family through the week nicely.

We freeze the second loaf and defrost on Thursday. Has anyone else found the second loaf becomes a bit fragile 2-3 days after defrost? If so, any suggestions?

9/23/2008 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Skye said...

This has become the standard loaf in my house - I have two loaves chugging through the second rise right now. It's incredibly tasty the first day and the last. Thank you Beth!

10/13/2008 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

How do you determine that the liquid for softening the wheat berries has been reduced the right amount? I kept cooking the berries in the water and they never did puff off before most of the water was absorbed. However, their texture was fine in the bread. Maybe just let me know the actual measurement of the liquid with the wheat berries included that you put into the dough. My dough was way too stiff.
jbergesen@aol.com

10/24/2008 1:52 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

I can't see a couple of paragraphs of instructions because the box with info on wheat berries is superimposed. How do I move the box?

1/18/2009 10:36 AM  
Blogger Farmgirl Susan said...

Hi Sara,
I would try opening the page in a different browser: Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc. I'm looking at it in Firefox, and the sidebar is right up against three paragraphs of instructions which are half the width of the other paragraphs, but all the text is showing.

If that doesn't work, here are the complete instructions. Happy baking! : )

kitchenMage’s Honey wheatBerry Bread
This recipe makes two large (slightly over 2 pound) loaves or ~18

US Volume metric Volume US Weight metric Weight
water 3 cups 800 ml 24 ounces 675 grams
Wheat berries 3/4 cup 175 ml 5 ounces 140 grams
Milk, room temp 3/4 cup 175 ml 6 ounces 170 grams
Whole wheat flour 1 cup 235 ml 4 1/2 ounces 125 grams
instant yeast 1 tablespoon 15 ml 3/8 ounce 12 grams
Honey 1/4 cup 60 ml 3 ounces 84 grams
Butter 1/4 cup 60 ml 2 ounce 56 grams
Bread flour 6 1/2 cups 1525 ml 29 1/4 ounces 820 grams
salt 1 tablespoon 15 ml 1/2 ounce 15 grams

Note: Each batch of wheat berries I get seems to cook in a different amount of time and absorb a different amount of water. This means that, more than many bread recipes, you may need to adjust the flour on this each time you make it. I add ~5 cups to start and then sprinkle more in as it mixes in the kitchenAid. Most of the time, I end up using ~6 1/2-7 cups, but your mileage, as always, may vary.

Preparing the wheat berries
Combine wheat berries and 3 cups of water in a medium sauce pan. Cover and set aside to soak for an hour. After an hour, leave pan covered and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until wheat berries are soft and popping open. The water level will be reduced by ~1/2 cup and the wheat berries will be fat and soft. Let cool and prepare for use in dough — see sidebar for more information.

Mixing the dough
In mixing bowl, combine wheat berries, milk, yeast and whole wheat flour. Mix until well combined, cover and set in a warm spot until bubbly, 20 - 30 minutes.

Add the softened butter, honey and 5 1/2 cups of bread flour. Mix until it forms a shaggy mass. Continue to add flour, a tablespoon or two (or more at first), until the dough stops readily absorbing it. Mix for another minute, two if mixing by hand. The dough will still be a bit rough. Cover and let rest on the counter for 20 minutes.

If you are using a mixer: Add salt. Use the dough hook and mix it on medium for ~5 minutes, adding more flour a tablespoonful at a time, if needed, until the dough is fairly smooth. Turn it out on a well-floured counter and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is like a baby's bottom — given the wheat berries, perhaps it’s a baby with diaper rash. (sorry)

If you are making the dough by hand: Add salt. Spread a cup of flour on the counter and knead for 4 - 5 minutes, adding more flour if needed. Knead until the dough is, um, ready as described, perhaps a bit too graphically, above.

Roll the dough in flour, put it in a clean bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured counter, divide in half and shape into loaves. Grease two loaf pans. Put the shaped loaves in the pans and let rise until doubled in bulk (about an hour).

Preheat oven to 375F (175C). Bake bread for 45 minutes or until golden brown (~195F/90C internal temperature). Turn out of pans onto cooling rack for at least an hour.

1/18/2009 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had to add lots of water; should I have kept in the water from the wheatberry soaking/cooking, or was I supposed to discard it?

1/20/2009 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a die-hard Orowheat Honey Wheat Berry Bread lover too. I am definitely going to try this. What do you think about using powdered butter and milk and compensating for the water? Thanks!

CM - Prescott, AZ

1/28/2009 5:50 PM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

Anon (next to last) - Yes, leave the water in. You may still need to add more water (my wheat berries absorb more water if they have been on the pantry shelf for a while, for example, and less if they are fresher) but you won't lose the water-soluble nutrients left in the cooking water either.

Anon (right above me) - This is the best bread copycat recipe I have made and I am thrilled to find more Oroweat lovers to share it with! I think you should be fine with powdered milk and butter. (they make powdered butter? wow, I learn something every day!) I often use powdered milk in bread, adding it with the dry ingredients and using the called for amount of water instead of milk. (1 cup of milk in recipe=1 cup water+~1/3 cup dried milk)

Does the powdered butter have reconstituting ratios? My guess is that it takes less water than the milk so it might be more like 1 cup of butter=3/4 cup water+ ? dried butter. Not that I'd put a up of butter in my bread...or say in public that I had!

Now I must go google powdered butter...and figure out where you might live that it's needed!

1/28/2009 6:15 PM  
Blogger enjangu4ever said...

I'm stymied as to how you can make a batch of bread with 3/4 c liquid supporting nearly 7 c flour. I gave it a whirl and the results were disastrous. I had to add another 1.5 c water. Did I do something terribly wrong here?

5/21/2009 1:39 PM  
Blogger kitchenmage said...

enjangu4ever,

As you might see from the comments, the need for extra water varies. Some folks didn't need to add any, others, like you, had to add quite a bit.

It is largely dependent on how dry your wheat berries are before you cook them, and thus how much water they absorb; which changes from one batch I purchase to the next.

When my wheat berries are done cooking and have been blended, they look like medium-thick cooked cereal and still contain a bit of moisture so it's not really 3/4 of a cup, it's an additional 3/4 cup on top of the moisture in the berries.

It sounds like your berries were very dry (too dry to blend?) when you were done cooking them. Is that correct? Then I could see how you would need a lot more liquid.

btw, how did the bread you made turn out?

5/21/2009 4:10 PM  
Blogger Krystal said...

Don't forget to used your bless-ed salad spinner to remove excess moisture from the wheat berries or whatever you use.

7/31/2009 9:08 PM  
Blogger Krystal said...

On a completely different subject, when substituting whole wheat, rye, or graham in a recipe (either yeast or not) what can be done to cause the whole grain to rise a little more? I've heard white vinegar for baking soda bread or vital wheat gluten (+vitamin C) for yeast recipes. Help.

7/31/2009 9:13 PM  

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