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Power Bread | #BreadBakingBabes

Power Bread
Today is the 16th, and that means it's time to reveal this month's Bread Baking Babes challenge. One of our newest BBBabes, Judy of Judy's Gross Eats, is our Kitchen of the Month, and she challenged us to make Peter Reinhart's Power Bread. I imagine the name comes from the fact that this loaf is high in fiber and protein, which when combined, make you feel fuller with fewer calories. Protein boosts your metabolism, while fiber allows for sustained energy release in the hours after you eat. POWER!

Don't let the fact that this bread has steps or "sections" to it scare you off. The pre-soaker, soaker, and biga each only take a few minutes each to pull together, and then you let them sit for hours on their own before moving on. It looks like you'd have to start days in advance, but really you don't.

For me, it took 2 days, but most of that time was unattended. It went something like this:
Day 1
  • 7:00 am - combine ingredients for pre-soaker and allow to sit at room temperature. Combine ingredients for Biga into a ball that resembled wet sand, but held together; cover and refrigerate.
  • 8:30 pm - puree pre-soaker ingredients together, then combine that with the rest of the soaker ingredients until they form a "moist" ball (which I found oddly pleasing).

Power Bread
Day 2
  • 8:00 am - remove Biga from fridge and set on counter.
  • 11:00 am - proceed with recipe.

I had bread by that evening. See? Mostly unattended (looks can definitely be deceiving).

Don't fret if you don't see rise in the Biga, it seemed a common consensus among the BBBabes that chimed in early. The final dough itself rises pretty hungrily as it rises, both in the bowl and in the pan. It smells magical in the oven. It tastes good, like a hearty whole wheat bread with a bit of sweetness (from the raisins and honey) and a bit of nuttiness (from the sunflower seeds).

Power Bread
Slightly adapted from Peter Reinhart, this bread is high in protein and fiber for sustained energy release, and sunflower seeds lend a nice nuttiness.
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Power Bread
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 36 hours (mostly unattended)
Cook Time: 40-50 minutes
Keywords: bake bread vegetarian soy-free

Ingredients (1 loaf)
    for the pre-soaker:
    • 71 grams raisins
    • 14 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) flaxseeds
    • 170 grams (3/4 cup) water
    for the soaker:
    • All of pre-soaker
    • 170 grams (~1 1/3 cups) white whole wheat flour
    • 14 grams (2 tablespoons) wheat germ
    • 4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
    for the biga:
    • 170 grams (~1 1/3 cups) white whole wheat flour
    • 1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) instant yeast
    • 142 grams (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) buttermilk, at room temperature
    for the final dough:
    • all of soaker (at room temperature)
    • all of biga (at room temperature)
    • 56.5 grams (6 tablespoons) sunflower seeds, ground into a flour
    • 56.5 grams (7 tablespoons) white whole wheat flour
    • 28.5 grams (3 tablespoons) sesame seeds
    • 4 grams (1/2 teaspoon) salt
    • 7 grams (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
    • 21 grams (1 1/2 tablespoons) honey
    make the pre-soaker:
    Mix all pre-soaker ingredients together in a small bowl, cover, and let sit at room temperature for 8-24 hours.
    make the soaker:
    Puree the pre-soaker in a blender or small food process; mix with the remaining soaker ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir for about a minute, until everything is thoroughly combined and comes togther in a ball.

    Cover the bowl and leave at room temp for 12-24 hours or refrigerate for up to 3 days (let sit at room temperature for 2 hours before mixing the final dough).

    make the biga:
    Mix all of the biga ingredients together in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon to mix until it comes together into a ball. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, or up to 3 days (let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before using in dough).
    Biga and Soaker cut into pieces
    make the dough:
    Cut the soaker and the biga into 12 pieces each.

    Grind the sunflower seeds into flour in a blender, food processor, or spice grinder (gently pulse or it will turn into sunflower seed butter, not flour). Mix ground seeds with remaining ingredients, including the soaker and biga pieces.

    Knead the mixture with wet hands for 2 minutes, or until everything is thoroughly mixed. Dough should be slightly sticky.

    Dust your work surfacewith flour, and roll the dough around in it; knead for 3-4 minutes. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, and then knead for another minute. Form your dough into a ball, place it into a lightly oiled bowl; Cover and allow to site at room temperature until risen by 1.5 times its size, 45-60 minutes.

    Oil an 8.5" x 4" loaf pan. Lightly flour your work surface again, turn the dough out onto it, and form into a loaf. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature until it has risen to 1/5 times its size, 30-45 minutes.
    power bread dough
    Preheat oven to 425° F during the final 15 minutes of rise time. Place a metal pan in the bottom of the oven. Remove plastic wrap and if you like, slash the loaf down the center about 1/4" deep.
    risen power bread dough
    Slide into oven, then pour 1 cup of hot water into the metal pan; close the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. Bake for 20 minutes.

    Carefully remove steam pan from the oven, then rotate the pan 180°; close oven and bake until the loaf is brown and registers at least 195° F when an instant read thermometer is inserted in the center, another 20-30 minutes.

    Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

    -slightly adapted from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads
    Power Bread
    Power Bread - Bread Baking Babes July 2015
    This month's Bread Baking Babes challenge is Power Bread, as chosen by the BBBabes host kitchen of the month, Judy of Judy's Gross Eats.

    Would you like to bake along and earn your Bread Baking Buddies badge? It's easy! Simply make Power Bread in your kitchen, and then send Judy your link (more info in her post) by the 29th of the month. I hope you'll join us!

    Check out this month's Bread Baking Babes posts to see how they made their Power Bread: