I love buttermilk . Here is this wonderful ingredient that enhances the flavor and texture of your baked goods without adding copious amount of fat . It is easy to make buttermilk at home . Spiced/sweet buttermilk was a favorite drink during summer months in India . There are some really good brands in the market now without additives . I add it to breads , pancakes and even cakes . The results are always fantastic . Here is a basic WW Buttermilk loaf that is soft and light and airy , perfect for a breakfast toast or a quick sandwich .
Before you start make sure that all the ingredients are at room temperature . Warm the water to around 100°F – 110°F , or just warm to touch . Take the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl Mix well . Make a well (hole) in the middle and put the honey 1/4 C water and the yeast in it . Use a spoon to stir the water gently a couple of times to mix and leave it to proof for 5 to 10 minutes . After 5 minutes you should see the yeast bubbling . A word of caution , if you are unsure of the quality of yeast do this step separately in a bowl and add the bloomed yeast to the flour. Pour 1 C of buttermilk into the bowl and use a wooden spoon/ spatula to stir everything together . If it gets too hard to combine slowly add the remaining 1/4 C water while stirring . Stir until all the flour is moist . Cover and set aside for 20 minutes .
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 10 minutes Knead in the softened butter . If the dough is very sticky add 1 or 2 tablespoons more of flour . As you kneed the dough will become more pliable . Knead gently , excess kneading will break down the fragile gluten strands in the whole wheat dough . When the dough has become soft and pliable , it is time to stop kneading . Form the dough into a ball . Oil a medium bowl and transfer the dough into it . Turn the dough to lightly coat all sides with oil . Cover with a plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place till doubled , about 1 to 1. 1/2 hr .
Once the dough is doubled , punch it down Transfer onto a lightly floured work surface . It is time to shape the loaf . There are may ways of doing this . Here I have illustrated one such method.
Whichever method you choose when transferring the dough to the pan ensure that the seam side facing the bottom . Lightly coat the top with oil , cover with a plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise until almost doubled , about 30 to 45 minutes . In this picture I have used a 4X8 pan . The dough has risen more than an inch over the top of the pan . If you were using a 9X5 pan the dough would be barely peeking over the top .
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) . Place the loaf pan in the middle rack . Reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until done . When done the crust will have the lovely golden brown color and the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom .
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes . transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing .
Isn’t that wonderful for a bread that has only 25 % white flour and no added gluten !!!
- This bread can be made 100% whole wheat too . I suggest that you add at least 1 tsp vital wheat gluten and increase the water by a couple of tablespoons to achieve similar results. Without the gluten the bread will be denser ., but still very tasty .
- If you are out of buttermilk a good substitute will be 1 tbsp white vinegar and 1 C milk. Adjust the water to account for the added vinegar .
- I have made this bread with and without butter. The butter slightly increases the shelf life . You can safely avoid the butter if the bread is going to be consumed within a day
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Bread
Whole Wheat Flour - 2 1/4 C
Bread/All Purpose Flour - 3/4 C , Unbleached
Salt - 1 1/4 Tsp
Buttermilk - 1 C , Low fat
Water - 1/2 C
Yeast - 2 Tsp
Honey - 2 Tbsp
Butter - 1 Tbsp , Unsalted (Optional)
Bring the buttermilk and butter (if using) to room temperature . Warm the water to 100 - 110 °F , or just warm to touch . Mix the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl .Make a well in the center and add the honey , yeast and 1/4 C water .Give a a gentle stir and keep aside for 10 minutes to activate the yeast .
Mix everything together using a spatula / wooden spoon while adding the 1C buttermilk . If the dough is too dry and difficult to stir add the remaining water by tablespoons , just enough to keep stirring . Once all flour is mixed in cover and let the dough rest for 20 minutes .
Turn out onto a lightly floured kneading surface and gently knead for 10 minutes . Add the softened butter to the dough and knead it in . If dough is too wet even after a few minutes of kneading add a little more flour, 1 Tbsp at a time .
Lightly oil a medium bowl and transfer the dough to it . Coat the top with a little oil , Cover with a plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and let rise till doubled , about 60 to 90 minutes .
Punch down the dough , knead a few times in the pan and shape into a log . Lightly spray the loaf pan , and transfer the dough to it . Cover with a plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and let rise until doubled , about 30 to 45 minutes .
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) . Transfer the dough to the middle rack . Reduce the temperature to 350°F(175°C) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until done .
Cool in pan for 10 minutes . Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely before slicing.
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