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Sourdough Cracked Wheat Bread

  • 1 c sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 c unbleached bread flour
  • 4 1/2 c flour, unbleached bread
  • 1/2 c cracked wheat
  • 1 1/2 c water, boiling
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 c dry milk
  • 1/3 c honey
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp yeast

If you are taking your starter from the frig, it probably will have separated. Blend it thoroughly with a wire whisk. Pour 1 cup into your mixing bowl. Replenish your starter before you go on. To the starter in the mixing bowl, add the warm water, the whole wheat flour, and the 1 cup of unbleached bread flour. Beat vigorously with a spoon or wire whisk. Cover this sponge with plastic wrap and put aside to begin to come to life and work. Allow at least 2 hours and as many as 24. Let it work overnight or all day. The longer it has to work, the more yeast there will be for the second rising period and the more pronounced the sour flavor of your bread. Add the 1/2 cup of cracked wheat to the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water and stir. Let sit until room temperature or until most of the water is absorbed (constistency of rice). Blend the salt, yeast, and baking soda into 2 cups of the unbleached bread flour. Mix this to the expanded and bubbly sponge along with the cracked wheat, honey, and dry milk. Add as much unbleached bread flour as is necessary to make the bread dough. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for at least 4-5 minutes. Add flour as needed to make a fairly stiff dough. Put dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap to rise. Let it rise for anywhere from 1-3 hours. Knock down the dough and shape it into 3 loaves and set aside to rise for another 1-3 hours. Brush loaves with an egg white water mixture. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on wire racks completely. NOTES : Be sure to put a pan of hot water on the lower rack of oven while it is preheating to create some steam for your bread. The crust will be very hard when you remove the bread, but in about 5 minutes it will be soft and chewy. To make the crust hard and chewy, turn the oven off and leave the bread inside for an additional 5 minutes.

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