Over the past several years I have tweaked my whole wheat bread recipe to see if I could improve the process and fluffiness factor. And I was a little crazy about not "losing" a loaf of bread so we ate whatever I wound up with in this process. It wasn't so bad. Whatever was "brick" status just got popped into the toaster and well buttered! Ha ha.
Fluffiness is of utmost interest because whole wheat anything seems to immediately call to mind an absence of this character. Being an individual who grew up on the Wonder Bread of the 70s/80s/90s it is a habit and expectation that is difficult to set aside! I know... I am weak. Honestly, I didn't want to complicate my recipe with a bunch of additives and make the process a pain in the hiney - whether it was an additional, potentially costly, ingredient or whether or not it was an item that was easily found. Well, after you see the comparison photo I think you will understand why this addition was so readily accepted!
Lecithin: derived most commonly from soybeans, is used in baking for its ability to moisturize, preserve and emulsify.
For no other reason than I just wanted to see what happened I went ahead and made two batches of bread: one the regular way, one adding lecithin. I noticed right away that when I added the lecithin that the liquids looked more mixed (emulsified) than without. Hmm. At the time I wasn't sure that was so great. After all, water and EVOO technically do not mix, right? Then during the rise time it appeared to be a little taller than the original recipe. And lastly, after baking there was a significant difference.
Here is the result:
See? Do I really have to indicate that the one on the right is the lecithin batch? And it was a lovely elastic texture that was closer to my preference. So - there you have it. Documentation/justification of the addition of LECITHIN to my recipe.
Here is my updated recipe:
2.5c warm water
1T red palm oil
(if you don't use red palm oil simply increase the EVOO to 1/3c)
2T powdered lecithin
(I tried liquid as well and it was identical results)
- mix for 4 minutes.
2c hard white wheat
2.5c hard red wheat
- add to wet ingredients.
1 heaping tablespoon of dry yeast
- add to wet ingredients.
-knead in mixer for 6-8 minutes.
(the bowl will be quite tidy and dough elasic-y)
Let the dough rise for an hour in an EVOO coated bowl covered. Then punch the dough down and divide into two pieces shaping it into two loaves and place in large bread pans that have been rubbed with EVOO. Allow to rise for an hour. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven at 350.
After the bread is baked let it sweat slightly for about 5 minutes and it should slide right out of the pans without any issue. If you notice that it's not coming out easily give it another five minutes. Otherwise you probably didn't oil the pan well enough. Oh well, just slide a knife down the sides and remember next time to be a little more liberal with the EVOO.
Don't leave the bread in the pans much longer than 10-15 minutes because it may get soggy. Let it completely cool on a rack to room temperature. You'll find that the top of the bread is crusty but as it cools it will begin to get more tender. I don't butter the top because that is my preference - no other reason. I keep my loaves in plastic bags and four loaves usually lasts my family of eight about a week.
Good luck and I'd love to hear from you!