Molasses Wheat Berry Bread

My breads have been getting more and more….chunky. And chewy. Years ago I baked a lot of bread with wheatberries, but have fallen out of the habit. Last week I cooked up a whole pot of them (see information on how to do that on Kate’s blog) and I’ve been using them in bread every day. We have been eating AMAZING bread. Considering the amount of bread that we go through, it needs to pack as big a punch as I can give it!

Molasses Wheat Berry Bread

Stir together and make a sponge with:

  • 1 1/2 c. cooked wheatberries (read below about the importance of cooking these completely)
  • 2 c. very hot water
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 2 t. salt
  • 2 T. yeast
  • 2 T. oil
  • 2 c. whole wheat flour

Let this sponge bubble and froth for about 45 minutes.

Then use the dough hook on the mixer and speed 2 to knead in approximately 2.5 c. whole wheat flour and 1.5 c. white bread flour. (Remember that the exact amount of flour that you need will vary with the humidity in the air and in your ingredients.) Add enough flour that the dough starts to form a ball on the hook but does not clear the sides. Whole wheat dough that has too much flour will end up dry and crumbly.

Let dough rise until doubled in size. This might take longer than regular white bread dough. Give it time to rise.

After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and form into two oblong balls. Put the balls of dough into greased glass loaf pans. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until just double. Don’t let this particular bread over-rise or you’ll end up with bread that doesn’t want to hold together. The wheat berries will end up being too heavy for the over-stretched gluten fibers to hold up.

Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes until the internal temperature (as measured by a quick-read thermometer) of the loaves is 185°. Cool on rack completely before slicing.

This makes a delicious, moist brown loaf of chewy bread. It is CRITICAL that the wheatberries are thoroughly cooked before making this bread. The berries that end up on the top of the loaves will crisp up during baking. If they’ve been thoroughly cooked, they’ll be a nice, nutty crunchy texture. If they have NOT been thoroughly cooked, they’ll end up hard enough to break your teeth. Seriously. Breaking teeth on a piece of bread would take a lot of explaining to the dentist.
My boys say that the best way to eat this bread is while it is still warm…with lots of melty butter and homemade blueberry jam.

Barb

ADDED NOTE: My sister-in-law, Michele, asked me where in the world does one find wheatberries. My first reaction was, “In my pantry!” I have several huge sealed buckets of wheatberries that I was given out of someone’s Y2K stash, so to be honest, I have not bought wheatberries in forever. And I won’t buy them for a few more years! I would go looking for them in the part of the grocery store where you can buy seeds and grains out of bins. Any health food store should also have wheatberries. I don’t think they’ll be expensive. Maybe some of you who buy wheatberries regularly can help me out on this.

10 Comments

Filed under Breads, recipes

10 responses to “Molasses Wheat Berry Bread

  1. Barb that sounds so delicious. I made some bread yesterday to go with our 15″ snowfall and today I want to make muffins. I don’t know what it is about tons of snow that makes me want to bake!

  2. The idea of a warm fragrant kitchen is almost always nice…but especially appealing when there’s snow coming down! I’ve been doing a lot of muffins lately too. I make the recipe that keeps in the fridge for up to six weeks (har, har, like muffin mix would last that long around here. I’m lucky to get six DAYS out of a batch.) Laura posted that recipe several months back somewhere around here….

    bk

    • Tamra

      The WHEAT becomes a BERRY once it is soaked and/or cooked. It is just wheat grain until then. The wheat berry is soft and swollen, sometimes sprouted, but doesn’t have to be, chewy and nutty flavored. As a grain or wheat kernals, it can be kept in a canister or a tightly closed jar in your cupboard. As wheat berries, it must be refrigerated, and keeps about a week. Keep it in a jar, or sealed container, something like tupperware, and rinse it every couple days, when it begins to look dry.

  3. Ray Johnston

    I found wheat berries at Bob’s Red Mill in Portland. If you’re unlucky enough to live anywhere else, you can order them at http://www.bobsredmill.com.

    Thanks for the precooking info. I put 2/3 C into a whole-wheat bread batter, after soaking the berries for not long enough in near-boiling water. Tasty, but too crunchy.

    The loaf I brought to the office this morning disappeared with astonishing speed, however, and although everyone seemed to think it was great, the crunching noises made me nervous.

    (I have — twice — called my dentist at 10 pm on a Saturday, for triage on teeth shattered by crusty, crunchy bread.)

  4. Mari

    I found wheatberries at my local “healthy/organic” foods grocer in Hudson, WI. The name of the grocer is “Fresh & Natural Foods.” They are sold by the pound out of bins. $1.09 per pound.

  5. Hey, Mari, You’re “just around the corner” from me–I’m in the Cities.

    Laura

  6. Christine

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! LOVE IT! I’ve been making wholegrain breads for years and this one is now in my top five fav’s! I tweaked it a little by using local honey ( that I got from a friends bee farm) in place of the molasses….AWESOME!!

  7. this sounds terrif! Ill be giving this a whirl. thanks for the heads up re: thorough pre-cooking!

  8. maggi

    good to know about soaking the wheatberries-now; I found a recipe on another site and it didn’t say anything about it.They were good muffins,but really hard !!on my teeth..

  9. Organic wheat berries are sold in 25 pound bags at JAR Baker’s Supply in Lincoln RI

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