Recipe for high-protein bread using red winter wheat
by Paul Jarboe
What is red winter wheat?
Red winter wheat is a high-protein wheat, known in French as blé rouge d’hiver. It is a hard wheat with qualities similar to durum wheat, which we find in Italy.
Winter wheat differs from other wheat in that it is planted in the autumn, goes dormant during the coldest winter months, then resumes growth as the weather warms up. It is harvested in spring or early summer.
According to the The Fresh Loaf, hard white wheat of the type we find in France, which is slightly yellowish and not pristine white, was “actually developed from hard red wheat, by eliminating the genes for bran color while preserving other desirable characteristics of red wheat,” such as its high protein content. The Fresh Loaf site contains loads of photos comparing the color of the grains as well the baked product.
This wheat is not grown extensively in Europe, but the actual grains can be found in a good health food store or a supermarket that carries a wide range of natural grains. Large Manor supermarkets in Switzerland often stock it. Of course, to use the grains in a bread recipe, you need to own a flour mill, which many home bakers do.
The Fresh Loaf
For those who love to bake bread, I don’t know of a better site than The Fresh Loaf. It refers to itself as the “amateur baker and artisan bread enthusiast site,” and you are likely to find absolutely any recipe you need there. If not there’s a lively forum that allows you to ask fellow bakers. Much of the bread is the hearty, healthy type you can really sink your teeth in to.
This is a modified recipe. The original came from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, via a childhood friend, Paul Jarboe and his partner Louis, who modified it with tricks they learned from a book called Bakewise, written by biochemist Shirley Corriher. (If you love to bake, this is a “must have” book.)
Ingredients3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 T granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 T kosher or other coarse salt, such as sea salt or “sel de Bex“ 1 T sugar 6 1/2 cups flour (King Arthur or red winter wheat, with a protein content of at least 13 g)
1/5 tablet of 500 mg tablet of vitamin C
1/8 tsp lecithin powder or lécithine, found in health f00d stores or pharmacies that carry food and supplements for athletes
Preparing the dough
Proof water, yeast, salt and sugar for 5 minutes. Mix dry ingredients well. Add the dry ingredients to yeast.
Let rise for 2 hours or until the dough starts to flatten.
Dough is then ready to use.
The dough can be placed in a loosely covered plastic container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 14 days. The flavor takes on a sourdough flavor the longer it is stored.
Yields 4 loaves.
Pull off approximately 500 grams / 1 lb of dough.
Lightly dust with flour and form a round ball. Dough will be wet and sticky when pulled from container. Sprinkle some flour on top of the dough to make pulling easier.
Place shaped ball on a pizza peel dusted with corn meal or fine polenta. Let rise 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 230°C /450°F with a baking stone on the middle rack, also dusted with corn meal. Place a metal pan with stones in the it in the bottom of the oven.
Allow dough to continue to rise for 20 more minutes while oven is coming to temperature. Just before placing dough in the oven fill the pan with stones with hot water. Careful: a burst of steam will most likely come out, so hold your head to the side to avoid getting it in the face.
Dust the top of the bread generously with flour. Make 7 1/2 to 11 cm / 3 to 4 1/4 inch deep slashes in the bread. Slide into the oven just before the oven has reached its full temperature.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand on a baking rack for 10 minutes.