Replacing White Flour with Whole Wheat in Recipes

Stromboli was lunch today for a group of Waldorf kids on their 8th grade trip adventure.  What a terrific group!

As it was a PPH column first, the previous post only included a link, but now can include the whole recipe.  After it ran, a reader asked this question about replacing white with wheat flour and I thought it was a good one to share:

I always enjoy your column; my husband’s favorite French Onion soup is the one you printed a while back. Now I would like to give your stromboli a try, perhaps for Valentine’s Day. I was wondering what you thought about using whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and if I did, whether there are any adaptations I should make. I already plan to try a new brownie recipe from the most recent Cook’s Illustrated magazine, so I figured the stromboli would be fun too. Why not break the caloric bank in the name of love??? (I guess that is why I might feel better using whole wheat flour!!!)

Thanks and I look forward to reading more of your recipe suggestions!

Mary G.

And my response:  That French Onion Soup is my husband’s absolute favorite recipe too (which I will post on a future date.)  I love your phrase about ‘breaking the calorie bank’!  As for using whole wheat, I have two thoughts.  One, don’t replace more than half of the white flour with the wheat, any more and you’ll have to adjust the gluten content or it won’t rise as well.  The other thought is to use whole wheat bread flour, which has more gluten in it, and rises better.  Even so, for the first time, I wouldn’t replace all of the white flour with the wheat. On another note, I read that brownie recipe a couple of days ago and thought to try it as well.  I really love the one I already use, but it’s more fudgy than anything else, which has only seemed a very good thing.

Happy caloric eating to you and your husband!

Stromboli Dough
Stromboli is similar to a pizza or a calzone.  While a pizza is flat and a calzone folded over itself once, stromboli are rolled into a loaf with the toppings inside.

This dough is easily doubled or tripled to make stromboli for a crowd or for any of the above mentioned uses.  Of course you can always knead this dough by hand, but I’m assuming that only the purists among us will do so when a dough hook is readily available.  If you don’t own a dough hook, no worries, our foremothers (and me all summer long) just kneaded the dough for 10-15 minutes by hand.  It’s a meditative and energetic exercise all at once.

3/4 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 tablespoon salt
2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water, reserve 1/4 cup and add as needed
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for the top of the dough
Cornmeal for dusting

Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a mixing bowl.  With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, mix on low speed.  Add 3/4 cup of water and olive oil.  When the dough begins to form a ball, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the little bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl start to work into the dough.  Knead on medium low speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the surface of the dough begins to be very smooth and the dough is elastic.

Oil the top of the dough, cover with either a plate or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready to roll out, preheat oven to 400°.  Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven.  Dust a baking pan with corn meal.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured countertop to about the size of a laptop.  Lay out ingredients over the entire surface and roll up snugly into a loaf, tucking in the ends and pinching the seam closed.   Place the loaf onto the pan dusted with cornmeal.  Oil and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, about 1/2 hour.  When the loaf has nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on the top with a razor or very sharp knife.

Place the baking pan in the oven, throw 1 cup of water into the skillet on the bottom to generate steam and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and an internal read thermometer reads 210°.

Serves 4-6

Fillings:
Ricotta and Genoa Salami
1/2 pound sliced Genoa salami
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 oz. grated mozzarella cheese, about 1 cup

OR
Mozzarella with Parsley and Arugula Pesto

1/2 cup pesto (recipe below)
6 oz. grated mozzarella cheese, about  2 cups

Parsley and Arugula Pesto
1/2 packed cup parsley leaves
1/4 packed cup basil leave
1/4 packed cup arugula leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until the leaves are finely blended.

Makes 1 cup (I know the stromboli recipe calls for only 1/2 cup, but if you are going to clean the food processor anyway, why not make extra to go in a pasta dish or a dressing on salad?)

No-Cook Tomato Herb Sauce
The stromboli is nice on it’s own, but traditionally it has a sauce to go with it.  I discovered this summer that even canned crushed tomatoes make a flavorful sauce that doesn’t need cooking when the bright flavors of parsley and basil and the zip of fresh garlic are mixed with the tang of red wine vinegar.

1 14oz. can crushed tomatoes, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced basil
1 teaspoons minced garlic, about 1 clove
1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/2 tablespoon balsamic
1/8 teaspoon salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and set aside until ready to serve.  This sauce benefits from 20-30 minutes of just sitting to allow the herbs and garlic to soften and the flavors to combine.

Makes 2 cups  (again, you’ll have extra, but why not?  With the extra pesto above you’ve got the beginnings of a great pasta dish.)

Annie
Our first days on the bay are always so sweet!

Email thisShare on FacebookTwitterDigg This!Save to del.icio.usStumble It!

Basic Bread Recipe – Part 2

This is the second half of my erudite elaboration on a basic bread dough recipe which I used for stromboli but is versatile enough for a crusty Italian bread, pizza dough or dinner rolls.

Chef Anne Mahle serves Stromboli aboard the Maine Windjammer J&E Riggin

These stromboli were made on the Riggin this summer in my wood stove.  They don’t last long, let me tell you!

When the dough is ready to roll out, preheat oven to 400°.  Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven.  Dust a baking pan with corn meal.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured countertop to about the size of a laptop.  Lay out ingredients over the entire surface and roll up snugly into a loaf, tucking in the ends and pinching the seam closed.   Place the loaf onto the pan dusted with cornmeal.  Oil and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, about 1/2 hour.  When the loaf has nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on the top with a razor or very sharp knife.

Place the baking pan in the oven, throw 1 cup of water into the skillet on the bottom to generate steam and quickly close the oven door.  Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown and an internal read thermometer reads 210°.

‘When the dough is ready to roll out, preheat oven to 400°.  Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy oven proof pan in the bottom of the oven.  Dust a baking sheet with corn meal.’

  • Bread rises better and creates a better crust when the oven temperature is high.  Pizza is baked at 500° and it’s one of the factors contributing to the famed, crispy crust.
  • I’ve found in my home oven, after much trial and error and more than a few really big messes, that using a cast iron skillet to help create steam in the oven is the best way to go.  I have a skillet from my grandma in which I’ve placed lemon-sized rocks.  It just stays in the bottom of my oven and when I’m ready to create steam, I pour a cupful of water on the rocks.
  • Steam is important to bread making for two reasons.  One, the moisture retards the formation of a crust so that the bread can rise more.  Two, in the later stage of baking, it actually helps create a crisper, thicker crust.
  • Dusting with cornmeal is not 100% needed, but it does add a little texture to the bottom crust and make it easier to remove the loaf from the pan.  Although, if you’ve done a good job, the bread should be easy to remove from the baking sheet.

‘Roll out the dough on a lightly floured countertop to about the size of a laptop.  Lay out ingredients over the entire surface and roll up snugly into a loaf, tucking in the ends and pinching the seam closed.’

  • Dust the countertop as lightly as possible.  It’s even okay if the dough sticks a little bit because it helps anchor a corner or two when you are rolling it out.
  • If the dough really doesn’t want to roll out and you push and it shrinks, you push and it shrinks.  Don’t fight.  Just walk away for 5 minutes and then come back to it.  The gluten will have relaxed and it will be much easier to handle.
  • When you pinch the seam closed and then place it on the pan, the seam should be on the bottom.

‘Place the loaf onto the pan dusted with cornmeal.  Oil and cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, about 1/2 hour.  When the loaf has nearly doubled, make three diagonal slashes on the top with a razor or very sharp knife.’

  • When you lightly oil bread dough, you retard any drying out that might happen in the rising process.  Plastic wrap does the same work and it’s why a ‘dampened cloth’ isn’t something I use any longer.
  • The slashes help the bread rise and are for aesthetic purposes as well.

Annie
Write if you have more questions and if not, get baking!

Email thisShare on FacebookTwitterDigg This!Save to del.icio.usStumble It!

Basic Bread Recipe

Bread dough is one of the most versatile things you can make in your kitchen AND one of the hardest to write a recipe for because it’s such a visual and tactile process.  It’s also intimidating if you’ve never done it.  The good news is that even if your first try is a complete flop (and that’s not a given), the ingredients, primarily flour, water, yeast and salt, are all inexpensive.

I’d like to try to take the mystery out of bread making, mostly because the results are so worth the effort.  But really, when a recipe reads  ‘cover and let rise 1 hour or until dough has doubled’ or ‘knead until smooth and elastic.’  What does that mean!?  These are all phrases that I’ve used in my recipes, but there are times when I just wish I could show people.  Well, most of the time I wish that.

Stromboli served on the Schooner J&E Riggin

These are the directions for a basic bread recipe that ran in the Portland Press Herald column this week.  I used it in a stromboli recipe and it’s  very forgiving.

Combine the yeast, salt, and flour in a mixing bowl.  With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, mix on low speed.  Add 3/4 cup of water and olive oil.  When the dough begins to form a ball, add more water a tablespoon at a time until the little bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl start to work into the dough.  Knead on medium low speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until the surface of the dough begins to be very smooth and the dough is elastic.

Oil the top of the dough, cover with either a plate or plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

‘Combine the yeast, salt and flour in a mixing bowl.’

  • You combine the dry ingredients first so that you don’t end up with clumps of yeast or salt when the water is added.  

‘With the dough hook attachment of the mixer, mix on low speed.  Add 3/4 cup of water and olive oil.  When the dough begins to form a ball, add more water one tablespoon at a time until the little bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl start to work into the dough.’

  • Adding the water a little bit at a time towards the end is important.  Moisture content in flour will vary as will the protein.  Both affect how much water you should add.  It’s better to adjust the amount of water rather than the amount of flour.  More flour changes the ratio to yeast and salt, whereas more water changes nothing.  The dough should just barely come away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Here you could also knead the bread by hand.  It’s not that hard, but the technique is, again, easier to show than to write.  Once the dough has formed a ball in the bowl, transfer it to a floured countertop.  Pull the far side of the dough towards you and push it into the ball.  Give the dough a 1/4 turn and repeat.  If it sticks to your hands or the countertop, dust with flour.  Sing a song.  Keep going.  Sing another song.  Keep going.  It becomes rhythmic and aerobic as you work the dough into a smooth ball.  It should stop sticking to the counter top and your hands and the surface looses it’s mottled look and develops an unblemished surface.

‘Oil the top of the dough, cover with either a plate or plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft free place to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.’  Now this refers to how long the dough should rise of course, but there’s so much that ends up being left out of the recipe for the sake of brevity and so as to not put off 90% of readers who, if I added every single instruction, would quickly click to another recipe.  Anything longer than a page and it’s too daunting.  What the recipe could also include is:

  • Rising times may vary because of ambient temperature.
  • The reason you oil the dough is so that the surface doesn’t dry out and impede rising.
  • Draft free is important because significant air movement will lower the surrounding temperature and cause the dough to take longer to rise.
  • If it’s winter, you consistently wear three layers in your house and you are still cold (like in my 100 plus year old house), then you could turn the oven to 170 degrees and let the dough rise on the stove top.
  • When the dough has doubled in size, it will have a smooth, dome shape and the dough, when you poke it with a finger, shouldn’t bounce back.

This was only half of the instructions, I’ll post the rest of the instructions/comments tomorrow.  Hope this was helpful.  Write if it wasn’t.

Annie

Email thisShare on FacebookTwitterDigg This!Save to del.icio.usStumble It!