Classic Wholemeal Bread
Chef: Justine Schofield
Serves: 1 loaf
Time: 4 hours
2½ cups (350g) wholemeal plain flour
1 cup (160g) plain flour
1 tbsp (20g) granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1 sachet of yeast + bread improver
1½ cups (375ml) water, lukewarm
1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
In a large bowl, place flours, sugar, salt, yeast and oil (*optional) and stir briefly until combined. Add lukewarm water into the bowl and stir until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.
Transfer the dough onto a floured warm bench or wooden board, avoiding cold surfaces. As the bread dough would be sticky and soft but firm enough for kneading. With lightly dusted or greased hands, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If necessary, adjust with additional water or flour.
Transfer dough into a lightly greased large bowl and cover with a clean damp tea towel or cling wrap. Place the bowl in a warm dry place, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size. The first rise would take between 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the warmth of the kitchen.
After the first rise, transfer the dough onto a floured surface and knead for another 1-2 minutes. Thereafter, shape the dough into an 8" / 20cm Log. Place the bread loaf into a lined 20cm loaf tin or bake free form on a baking tray.
Cover the bread dough with a clean damp tea towel and leave to rise for another 45 to 60 minutes.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 230°C Conventional / 210°C Fan-forced. Bake the bread in the oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the crust of the bread is sufficiently brown and crusty.
Remove the bread from the oven and from the bread tin or tray immediately.
Leave the bread to cool completely for about 60 minutes before slicing. Store bread in a plastic bag at room temperature, if desired.
The temperature of the water to be used in bread making is essential, it needs to be warm and not “scalding hot”- as this would then kill the yeast microbes.
The addition of either olive oil or canola oil would help to achieve a softer and chewier crumb structure.
You may also knead this bread dough in an electric standing mixer, on medium speed with a dough hook attachment for 8-10 minutes or in a bread machine programmed for “dough only”.
To prevent over-browning on the crust of the bread, tent the loaf with aluminium foil after 20 minutes in the oven.
Rub the crust of the bread with some butter to yield a soft and flavourful crust.