First whole wheat loaf!
It's only about 25% whole wheat flour, but I'm still kinda proud of it. I overhydrated the dough terribly as I usually do. One of these days, I'll manage to, y'know, NOT do that. :(
So this time, as I promised in my newbie post, I actually wrote down the recipe!
3c Unbleached AP Flour (Gold Medal)
1c Whole Wheat Flour (Gold Medal)
1/4c Vital Wheat Gluten (Bob's Red Mill)
2 1/2c Water
2tsp Active Dry Yeast
1 stick butter
I tried my best to knead it properly this time - I really did. I just really suck at kneading and I have sticky hands. :P So I ended up kinda patting the dough out (because it was REALLY slack...) and folding it over with my bench knife (best thing I ever bought.) I'd let it rest 15-20 minutes between stretches and folds, which I think is what I was essentially doing.
After about 6 iterations of stretching and folding, I tossed it into an oiled bowl to proof. It was really warm in the kitchen, so it nearly doubled within about an hour. I took it out, tried kneading it some more (with a bit more success this time,) and then attempted to shape it. It... didn't work very well - I couldn't get anywhere near the desired gluten sheath. I figure I either didn't develop the gluten well enough (quite possible, given how quickly I went through the entire process) or it's just the "problems" of dealing with whole wheat flour (which I've read gives you trouble when shaping.)
Either way, I got it into a vaguely loaf-like shape, and tossed it in my cheap new basket with a piece of linen in it (hardly worthy of being called a banneton, but it works.) Let it rise for another hour or so (again, it was close to doubling at that point,) and then poured it (yes, poured - bloody slack doughs...) into the pan for baking. I glazed it with a beaten egg and a bit of water, and then sprinkled it with "Italian Seasoning" (probably an oregano/basil mixture - I buy it in bulk.)
I stuck it in the oven which was pre-heated to 550F and added steam. I kinda forgot to turn the oven down from 550F until about 25 minutes into the bake time... and I don't regret it! After 25 minutes, I bumped it down to 400F, and let it cook for another 20 minutes. Pulled it out, let it cool, and you can see the results above.
The loaf probably needed a bit more salt. I usually make a batch with 3c flour total, so I think I could've done with another 1/4tsp of salt or so. Lesson learned - I just wasn't paying attention. With that said, the high-heat cooking seemed to produce a VERY tasty crust on it - it was an accident this time, but I think I'm going to try a high heat for longer on other loaves. The crust itself is just a tiny bit crunchy - just enough to let you know it's actually crust.
Considering how slack the dough was and how I basically poured it into the pan, I'm shocked at how open the crumb is - I expected it to be flat and degassed from the pouring. I guess I got some spring out of it, but it's hard to tell because of how flat it was. I'm just glad I had a bigger pan with high sides prepared, or I'd have a mess in my oven instead of bread.
Next time, I might try using another quarter-cup of vital wheat gluten - and definitely less hydration (or the same amount of water after the extra quarter-cup of gluten.)