Saturday, July 7, 2007

Whole-Wheat Flour & Vital Wheat Gluten

A recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine had a recipe for whole wheat pizza dough that used vital wheat gluten. The recipe called for only whole wheat flour (wwf). Usually I substitute part of wwf with either all purpose flour, bread flour, or even pastry flour.
Without these substitutions, the bread turns out rather dense; though it taste great.
So the idea of using only wwf with wheat gluten was something I just had to try.

I added the gluten to my usual recipe for flat bread.
The outcome was outstanding!
The texture was just amazing; soft and spongy similar to the bread made using all purpose flour.
I'm totally sold on the idea of using wheat gluten with wwf.

Whole Wheat Flat Bread
You can also use this versatile dough to make pizza dough, buns, or foccacia-style bread.

3 cups 100% whole wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 packet active yeast
3 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 - 1.5 cups warm water (about 100F)

Into a food processor bowl add all the dry ingredients.
With the motor running, first add the oil and then the water. It helps if you add the water in small amounts, literally let it trickle in.
You may need to push down any ingredients that may stick to the sides of a bowl.
Run the food processor till the dough all comes together and moves around as one entity.

Now comes the fun part. (Though I try not to dwell on the manipulative p/a characters in my life, this is one occasion where thinking of them is actually beneficial.) Transfer the dough to a work area and for the next couple of minutes, think of the *%$#@ personalities while kneading the dough! Yeah! Keep kneading till you get a soft and smooth dough.

This kneading achieves a dual purpose; first it distributes the yeast while incorporating air into the dough which improves the texture of the bread and second, it cleanses your mind by providing a wonderful egress channel for any suppressed (-)ve thought(s).

Transfer the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a wet towel and place it in a warm place.

The dough will double in about 2-3 hours.
At this point you could punch down the dough and let it rise once more, but I'm usually so impatient that I skip this step.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Gently knead the dough once more. Spread the dough in a lightly oiled 13x9 pan. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle some salt.
Bake for about 15-20 minutes (time will vary for each oven) till the bread is brownish-reddish.

Remove from the oven and let it rest for a couple of minutes.

We enjoyed this bread with some soup.
The next day, we split the bread and used it for sandwiches.
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