It was hard for me to believe that a grainy whole wheat bread could be made without kneading. Even when my breadmaker was alive and well, it would struggle when I put it on the whole wheat cycle. What is even more miraculous is to discover a whole wheat bread I do not mind eating! Thank you Michael Smith for this recipe.
I made the normal loaf size country bread where I mixed together together flour, salt, yeast and get this, Red River Cereal! A Canadian icon of healthy multi-grain cereal that I adore but one box of it will last you a lifetime. I was thrilled I could use it in this bread. Talk about healthy!
I added warm water and stirred. As usual, it being winter and super dry, I had to add more water than the recipe calls for to bring the dough together.
That is it! No kneading! No nothing… I just stirred it together until it is a moist piece of dough.
You need to cover the dough and let rise for twelve hours. Yes, twelve hours! I actually put it in my covered salad bowl on top of some cookbooks in my kitchen until the next day. So if you want to make this bread, think ahead!
It got huge! Rose almost all the way to the top of the bowl and man, was this dough sticky!
I got out my bowl scraper to move the dough to a floured surface, worked like a charm. You were supposed to cover the dough in oil via a seasoned mixing bowl but I missed that step. I just covered my hands in flour and shaped into the shape of a loaf pan.
I transferred it to an oiled loaf pan and let it rise again for an hour or so. It was getting huge so I put it in the oven early.
I made this bread to do some recipe testing for his book The Best of Chef at Home and in the book it says to let the bread rise just like this, not covered. In the online version of the recipe it does say to cover. Also, only online, he tells you to use the hot pot method that I used when I made the artisan bread. According to the cookbook you just cook the bread in a preheated 425F oven for 45 minutes, which is what I did.
This bread shocked me. I could not get over the quality and the flavour. I really do not like whole wheat bread very much but the crust was so tough and tasty and the bread inside soft and delicious. It is very chewy though but that kind of goes with the territory of whole wheat. My husband gnawed on it while we were eating my butternut squash soup and said, “You can tell it’s healthy!” So much texture but also, flavour. Flavour that I personally liked. My husband found it a bit dry and he is right, you do need to slather it with some butter or jam but when you do? It is delicious!
I give this recipe made the way Michael Smith makes it in his cookbook four and a half out of five wooden spoons. Yes, it takes a ton of time to make but not a lot of effort. Absolutely an impressive loaf of bread I will be making all the time. Considering my breadmaker is dead, this recipe will be a lifesaver!