An urge for good bread has overcome me lately. I’ve been glancing at various recipes wanting to eat something that takes some time – starting with a biga, poolish, or some other type of starter – but not wanting to commit to a multi-day process. I broke down a couple of days ago and bought a loaf of bread from Panera. It was fantastic, but I still wanted home baked.
Then I came across the recipe for yogurt and wheat berry bread in The Scandinavian Cookbook by Trina Hahnemann. It looked substantial, but also just a couple of hours – a normal bread timeframe. There were some wheat berries languishing in the back of a shelf and of course satisfies my love of spelt flour. I was out of plain yogurt though, and didn’t want to commit to two loaves . . .
adapted recipe for yogurt and wheat berry bread
3.5 ounces wheat berries
1 cup water
Generous ¾ cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
1 package dry yeast
1.5 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1.5 cups spelt flour
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
Place the wheat berries and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Place into a standing mixer bowl with a dough hook (because I was too lazy to knead by hand), and let cool for about 10 minutes. Mix in the buttermilk, yeast, oil, salt, and sugar. Stir this in with a spoon to evenly mix. Add the flours and turn on the dough hook. Make sure it comes together as it mixes the first minute or two (I had to add another two tablespoons of water.) Once it is a mass, let the mixer knead it about 10 minutes. The dough should be a nice ball with all of the knobby wheat berries decorating it. Just remove the mixer bowl, cover lightly with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about an hour – until double or so.
After the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and deflate the dough. Shape into a slightly oblong ball loaf. Place on a parchment lined or silpat lined baking sheet. Gently re-use the plastic wrap to cover the loaf and let it rise another 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Gently pour a couple of tablespoons of water over the loaf – to glaze and ensure the top isn’t dry. Bake the loaf for about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.
It is a dense rustic loaf with definite ‘nuttiness’, great with cheese and figs! Or butter and morning coffee.