As with my other recipe, I borrowed ideas and advice from a number of experts (see the text at the beginning of the recipe below), combined with my own tastes and experience. I don't know if it is possible to make a really tempting whole wheat version of this type of bread solely with whole wheat flour. My early attempts were "grassy"-tasting and heavy. So, I used the proportions in Jeff Hertzberg's and Zoë François' recipe for "five-minute" no-knead, refrigerated for whole grain bread, with a few additions and changes.
The proportions are slightly more than 3/4 whole wheat flour to slightly less than 1/4 unbleached white flour-- not bad! The authors explained that "In order to mix up dough that's really high in whole grains, but can still be successfully stored, you need to boost the dough's gluten level. Otherwise, the bread won't rise nicely and will be too dense..." This made sense, even though I've always disliked the breads I'd tried with added gluten (they seemed to have a "tough" quality). But it worked with this very wet dough! I used a little less gluten this time, because it still seemed a bit tough the first time I tried it. However, this may be explained by the higher gluten content in Canadian flour, so you can try it both ways if you live in the USA.
I took master baker Peter Reinhart's advice and added a little organic sugar (to counteract the "bitter tones of the whole wheat flour") and olive oil ("to soften the bran"). The resulting bread does not taste sweet or "enriched"-- it tastes "clean" to me, and very tasty. (In my "whiter version", I used less whole wheat, so I didn't add the sugar, but I did add some oil, which I thought improved the texture.)
I hope you will give this a try and perhaps you can improve upon it further, and make your own variations. It's such an easy a satisfying way to make good bread!
Makes 3 good-sized loaves Jan. 13, 2010
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups unbleached white flour (Canadian all-purpose flour is fine, but you might want to use bread flour in the US) + more for dusting dough
Cornmeal and flour for dusting
In a large bowl or plastic container, mix the yeast into the lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Let sit until yeast dissolves. (If using the instant yeast, you don't have to dissolve it, though master baker Peter Reinhart has revised his thinking on this and recommends dissolving instant yeast to "allow it to ferment more effectively during the cooldown phase in the refrigerator".) Add oil, sugar and flours. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose.
Place the container inside of a clean plastic bag (a small white garbage bag does fine), and twist-tie it closed, leaving room for the dough to rise. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 10 hours).
When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough (DON'T PUNCH DOWN!) and cut off 1/3rd of the dough with serrated knife, or a bench knife, for each loaf.
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. (It's quite sticky-- keep your hands and the surface floured; maybe used a bench scraper.)
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball OR oval shape, depending on the shape of the pot you are going to bake it in.
Line a bowl, pan or oval casserole (depending, again, upon the shape of the vessel you will be baking the bread in-- doesn't matter what it's made from-- you aren't going to bake it in this, just let it rise in the appropriate shape), with cooking parchment-- 1 for each loaf you are baking at the time. Sprinkle the parchment with flour, cornmeal, semolina, or bran. Place the dough seam-side-down on the parchment in the bowl or pot, and dust lightly with more flour, semolina, bran, or cornmeal. Place the vessel(s) inside of a clean plastic bag(s) (a small white garbage bag does fine), and twist-tie closed, leaving plenty of room for the dough to rise. Let dough rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours (if dough has been refrigerated-- if it has not, rise at room temperature for about 1 hour).
When the oven and the pan are heated, and the dough has risen for the appropriate time, just lift the loaf (or loaves) up right in the parchment (using the parchment as a "lifter") and set it into your hot pot, pan or casserole with the parchment. (Don't worry-- it won't stick or burn!) Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes, or until the loaf is beautifully browned. Remove the bread from the pan immediately and cool on a rack.
Pizza made with the same dough, after refrigerating it for 3 days.