Whole Wheat Ciabatta – Not Bad, Which is Great!

I’ve never had much of a taste for whole wheat bread, which is not surprising if you grew up during the Wonder Bread years. Whole wheat flour is significantly stronger tasting, and its earthy, bitter aftertaste is the reason white flour is the much preferred choice for, well, everything.

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Besides the taste, it’s also a little harder to work with, and fairly easy to turn out something with a density that would make a brick blush. But, thanks to many years of requests, I decided to give the old no-knead ciabatta a higher-fiber makeover. Since I don’t have much whole wheat baking experience, I did what any good chef would do…I didn’t do any research, and just tried to figure it out.

I was quite happy with the taste and texture, and going 50/50 with the all-purpose flour provided just enough of that crusty, chewy “normal” bread experience, and we still get a decent amount of whole grain.

The procedure is straightforward, but as I point out in the video, pay attention to when you start. I recommend doing the sponge in the afternoon, mixing the dough at night, and baking it in the morning. Speaking of which, be sure to dust your dough with flour before covering. I didn’t, and had a little sticking problem.

I know many of you have made and enjoyed the traditional ciabatta bread we posted, so I’m looking forward to hearing from those of you who give this whole wheat version a try. Please let me know, and as always, enjoy!

For the sponge:
1 cup tepid water
1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1 oz (1/4 cup) rye flour (you can sub wheat flour)
2.25 oz (about 1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
2.25 oz (about 1/2 cup) whole wheat flour
let sit until very bubbly, about 5 hours

Then add:
1/2 cup room temp water
1 3/4 tsp fine salt
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tbsp polenta
1 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp shelled sunflower seeds
4.5 oz (about 1 cup) all-purpose flour
4.5 oz (about 1 cup) whole wheat flour
-Bake at 450 F. for 30-35 minutes

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