Our assignment for this bread braid was to make a batch of the master dough recipe and use it to make several of the different finished bread variations. I made a whole batch of the dough using a little over half regular whole wheat flour and the rest white wheat flour. I didn't grind my own for this batch of bread since I mixed it up while everyone was napping and didn't want to risk losing my baking time by waking up grumpy little nappers! I had some whey left from some cheese I made the day before and used it in place of the water in the dough. I tried another time to use whey in baking bread, but it didn't rise right. It didn't dawn on me until much later that it was because I hadn't thought to warm the whey, and it went right into the dough chilled from the fridge. This time I set the whey out for a few hours before I mixed the dough, and I gave the dough extra time to rise since the liquids were cooler than usual being room temperature to start with. But it did rise eventually with the extra time I gave it, and the loaf of bread I made didn't even require as much time as the book said to give it before it was done with the second rise.
It had been a while since I had made this one up and because we can always use a loaf of bread for sandwiches and what-not, I made the Hearty Whole Wheat Sandwich loaf first. I find the dough pretty sticky to handle before it has been refrigerated, but also find it rises better before refrigeration as well. So if I'm just going to stick the dough into a pan, I can generally get it shaped enough to make a loaf to go in the pan. This one rose so quickly being fresh, unrefrigerated dough that I think it actually over-rose a little. The top looked pretty flat and deflated and dare I say overdone. I was worried for my loaf when I took it out of the oven and Paul commented on my burning it. After it cooled overnight, I sliced into it and was quite pleased with it. Since I've been using the white winter wheat for flour, I haven't had any dark whole wheat bread for a while and this was a pleasant change both visually and taste-wise. I'm not sure that I can really tell any difference using the whey instead of water, but I guess that could be a plus too because it packs some extra goodies into the bread without really affecting how it turns out. Whey is supposed to be very nutritious and good for you--normally I just give it to the chickens and figure I'll get it back through the eggs!
I passed on the pita bread variation because I had no idea where to get black sesame seeds locally and didn't feel like ordering something to finish this bread braid--trying to ease up on the budget a little since some of these breads can run a little pricey when you have to buy unique ingredients for each dough. I was out of regular sesame seeds, and just skimmed right past this recipe. I see on the schedule that a different pita bread recipe is coming up in June, and I will be sure to give that one a try since I've never done a pita bread at home before.
I'm glad I didn't pass on the garlic knots, though, because they were delicious! I didn't even have anything fresh to use with them. I used chopped garlic from a jar and dried parsley and grated Parmesan from the can. I wished I had fresh in all of these, but I didn't; so I went ahead with what I had on hand. I even heated the olive oil too hot before I put my garlic into it and burned the garlic instead of just browning it. They still turned out so yummy. I got a couple silicone baking sheets and this was the first time I used one. It made it a breeze to clean up the olive oil mixture that was all over the place from the rolls. The olive oil drizzled over the rolls made them so crispy and crunchy when they were warm from the oven that I really had to round up my willpower to stop with just one. I have a feeling they won't be as good when they have cooled off and aren't quite as oven-fresh, but I'm sure they will still be yummy. This was one of my favorite recipes from the book so far, I think. The crispy outside of the rolls was just incredibly good!
You can check out what others did using this dough by visiting the HBin5 bread braid hosted at Big Black Dog.