I have been experimenting quite a bit with whole wheat breads, wanting to somehow make them as less dense as possible. This one is the best whole wheat loaf I have baked so far. I love how the slices have those gorgeous air pockets and a light feel.
I call it ‘over night’ bread since the dough needs to be rested for 6-8 hours. Somehow this makes the dough rise really well the second time. It is quite a simple recipe and you are definitely going to have fun baking this one.
For the starter- In a large bowl mix the yeast, potato-milk mixture, 1 tbsp of sugar and 1/4 cup of warm water. Add 1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour and mix well. Cover the bowl with a lid and allow to rest for 20 minutes. [The mixture at this point would be very sticky and wet]
Sift the remaining flour, sugar, milk powder and salt together.
The starter after 20 minutes starts to look a little bubbly. Take a spatula and mix well for 2-3 minutes.
Add the sifted flour.
Using the remaining 1/4 cup of warm water, bring the dough together. [ Add a little water at a time]
Add the oil and gently knead the dough for 4-5 minutes until it turns quite smooth.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a damp cloth. Allow the dough to rise.
After the first rise [ that is when the dough is doubled] , allow it to stay on for another 1/2 an hour.
Punch down or deflate the dough.
Wrap the dough in a damp cloth and place it in a slightly larger container. Cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight. [about 6-8 hours]
Allow the dough to come to room temperature . [ about an hour]
Punch it down gently and shape it into a loaf [slightly smaller than the loaf tin you use]. You may use a little flour to dust the surface to help shape the loaf.
Place the shaped dough into a greased and lined loaf tin. [ This recipe yields a small loaf. I used a 6 inch by 3.5 inch tin]
Cover with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rise. [ Took about half an hour for me]
Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. [ Do this around the time the dough has almost doubled ].
Brush the top with milk.
Bake in the pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes. [ Tent the top with aluminium foil in case it starts to brown faster].
Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack. Brush the top with butter.
Allow to cool completely before slicing. Store in an air tight container.
Oven temperature and time may vary. Tap the bottom of the tin. A hollow sound indicates that the bread is done. Usually about 40-45 minutes of baking time is enough for a bread loaf.
Potato puree- Pressure cook 1 large potato for 4-5 whistles or until it turns really soft. Allow it to cool completely before peeling and chopping it roughly. Give it one churn in an electric mixer and you have your sticky potato puree ready.
It is better to prepare this in advance and storing it refrigerated for a while. This makes using it easier.
If there are any big lumps after the milk and potato puree are mixed well, do remove them. Tiny chunks are ok.
Sometimes the amount of water needed for kneading the dough maybe slightly lesser or more than that mentioned in the recipe. This is because the consistency of the potato puree mixture may vary from person to person. Add the 1/4 cup of water reserved for kneading a little at a time to get the dough right.
In case you are using active dry yeast- Mix the yeast, 1/4 cup water and 1 tbsp sugar together. Allow the yeast to get frothy. Then mix in the potato-milk mixture and the 1/2 cup of flour. Allow this starter to rest for 20 minutes and follow the rest of the recipe as it is.