Fall is almost here! And nothing inspires me to bake as much as the cooler, crisp temps brought on by the autumnal season. It’s the perfect season to create a little cozy moment with a cup of apple cider in one hand, a nice, comforting read in the other, and bread baking in the oven. I’m lucky to have grown up watching my grandmother and my mom bake regularly, and all of their breads were made with all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour and required kneading and rising and shaping. They made it look so simple, as water, flour, yeast and salt came together in a matter of minutes, as if by magic. To my eyes, I now wonder if this looked deceptively simple because it looked like no technique was involved, and maybe that was a good thing because that way I never grew to be afraid of the process of making bread, and I’ve had a lifelong love of creating bread from scratch. To this day, it’s very rare that I actually buy bread because I make it from scratch. Sometimes I make Asian Milk Bread. On Fridays, I make Challah. Other times it’s dinner rolls or quarkbrotchen. Transforming a few modest ingredients and seasonings into a warm loaf of bread is something that never ceases to amaze me.
But what if you haven’t grown up making bread, or watching someone in your family do it? What if you didn’t join the sourdough-making trend during the early months of the pandemic in 2020, and what if maybe you’ve made bread but you don’t want a super long process that leaves a mess on your counter, and you won’t have time to follow each step over several hours so that the recipe succeeds? As much as I love baking, sometimes, I need something simple, reliable, and guaranteed to yield that magic loaf of home-baked happiness without too much of a fuss. If any of this applies to you, this recipe is perfect for you.
If you’ve never made bread and you like a hearty, chewy texture typical of an artisanal bread, then starting with this malty, aromatic, rustic bread is a good beginning point. The recipe, adapted from King Arthur Baking Company, requires no bread machine, no bread-making experience, and practically no kneading. It’s easy to put together, rises overnight at room temperature, and makes one wonderfully rounded boule inside a bread pot. What makes this bread chewy is the use of a high-gluten flour, which contains 14% of gluten, similar to flour used in bagels and whole-grain breads. I would recommend using this flour if you have access to it. If you don’t have this one on hand, you could try using bread flour, which has 12% gluten, which is usually used for high-rising breads. If using bread flour, you will need to knead the dough a little bit, since that will help the formation of gluten. The malted wheat flakes also help to add the texture and characteristic malty flavor. It’s truly magical because it’s amazing that with so little effort you can get a delicious, bakery-style bread that is also incredibly hearty and nutritious. Because of its malty flavor and dense texture, it makes a great sandwich bread; a delicious, hearty piece of breakfast toast with some cheese or butter or fruit spread; and the wheat flakes on the crust of the loaf give it a nice visual appeal. It can also go well with a bowl of soup, or if you’re feeling daring, I bet you can cut it up into croutons for a salad. I confess now that after this recipe I’m completely obsessed and I am going to experiment a lot with no-knead artisan-style recipes. After all, I think baking bread will continue to be one of the most satisfying, serenity-inducing at-home kitchen projects for me, and I hope this will be the case for you, too! Mmm…I can already smell that delicious aroma of freshly-baked bread wafting out of the oven! I promise you you’ll be absolutely hooked on making your own bread and the magic that comes with this ancient process.
Rustic Malted Wheat Bread
Prep time: 10 minutes
Rise Time: 9-17 hours total
Cook Time: 50 to 65 minutes
Servings: 12 to 20
- 3 cups high-gluten flour or bread flour
- 2 cups sprouted wheat flour
- 1 cup malted wheat flakes
- 2 ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 ¼ cups water, at room temperature
- 4 tbsp honey or light brown sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the high-gluten flour, sprouted wheat flour, wheat flakes, salt, and dry yeast.
- In an individual bowl, combine the honey and water until incorporated.
- Create a well in the center and stir in the water and honey mixture, stirring all the ingredients using your hands. It will come together in no time, and with very little kneading! If you are using bread flour instead of high-gluten flour, you will need to knead the dough a little bit longer, since it doesn’t have as much gluten. If you don’t feel like trying it by hand, feel free to use the paddle attachment in a stand mixer. Make surety incorporate all the flour into the dough.
- Cover the dough in the bowl with a tea towel or dish cloth and let it rest at room temperature for 8 to 16 hours, or overnight. The dough will become bubbly and rise. Make sure that the dough is resting in a room with no drafts and maintaining a comfortable room temperature.
- The next morning, preheat the oven to 450°F. Lightly grease and flour the base of a bread pot, or if you don’t have a bread pot, you can use a Dutch oven.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape it into a round, and place it smooth side up into the bread pot. This will require no kneading.
- Cover the bread pot and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 hour. It should be puffy and fill the pot.
- Place the bread pot in the oven with the lid on and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the bread pot and bake another 5 to 15 minutes, until the top is deep brown. If you want to be absolutely sure that the bread is fully baked, you can use a cooking thermometer; it should read 205°F when inserted into the center of the bread.
- Remove the bread from the oven and transfer from the pot to a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.
© 2021 Carol’s Baking Adventures