Yield: 2 Lg loaves
|See part 1|
A sponge starter bread Mildly sweet and slightly crunchy, our version of whole wheat oatmeal bread is great for tuna sandwiches. Cut in thick slices, it's perfect for French toast. Shape it into rolls for a dinner party or a family picnic. For variety, add one and a half cups (seven and a half ounces) of golden raisins to the dough and shape half of it into twists; crusty and delicious, they're good for breakfast-on-the-go and afternoon snacks. This versatile bread is sure to become one of your favorites.
1½ cups (12 ounces) very warm water (105 to 115 degrees) ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast 3 ½ cups (16 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour One 2-quart clear plastic container Mix all the ingredients together in a medium bowl and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes, until a smooth, somewhat elastic batter has formed. The batter will be very stiff; it gets softer and more elastic after it has proofed. You may find it easier to mix the sponge using electric mixer, with a paddle or a dough hook, on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Scrape the sponge into a 2-quart clear plastic container and cover with plastic wrap. At this point you have two options:
If you plan to make your dough later that same day, let the sponge rest at room temperature until it has risen to the point where it just begins to collapse. This may take from 6 to 8 hours, depending on the temperature of the sponge, the temperature of the room, and the strength of theyeast. The sponge will triple in volume and small dents and folds will begin to appear in the top as it reaches its peak and then begins to deflate. The sponge is now in perfect condition to be used in a dough. It's best if you have already weighed or measured out all of your other recipe ingredients before the sponge reaches this point so you can use it before it collapses too much.
If you're not planning to make your dough until the next day or the day after, put the covered sponge in the refrigerator and let it rise there for at least 14 hours before taking it out to use in a recipe.
Be sure to compensate for the cold temperature of the starter by using warm water (85 to 90 degrees) in the dough instead of the cool water specified in the recipe. Or let the starter sit out, covered, until it reaches room temperature (this may take several hours)-but don't let it collapse to much before you use it.
This recipe can be divided into 2 dozen pieces and shaped into rolls.
Place in a square pan with rolls touching and sprinkle with oats. Let rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. BAKERS' DOZEN AMY SCHERBER SHOW #BD1A53 Copyright, 1997, TV FOOD NETWORK, G.P., All Rights Reserved