Bulgur Wheat Loaf with a Stand Mixer

Dough Starter (Sponge):

  • 1/2 cup (2.75 oz) bread flour
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz) whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (9.3 oz) water (room temperature )

Flour Mixture:

  • 2 cups (11 oz) bread flour
  • 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast

Finishing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) #3 coarse or #4 extra coarse bulgur wheat
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup (4 to 5.5 oz) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp. granular lecithin or vegetable oil
  • 1-3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  1. Make the sponge: In a medium bowl, combine the sponge ingredients and whisk until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
  2. Combine flour mixture: In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour mixture ingredients. Sprinkle on top of the sponge to cover it completely. DO NOT MIX TOGETHER. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 1-4 hours at room temperature. The sponge will bubble through the mixture, that’s OK, and it’s also kind of cool to see.
  3. Place the bulgur in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the water until all the water is absorbed, about 1 hour, then refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. With your stand mixer, add the bulgur and the oil or lecithin to the bowl and then add the dough and starter. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for about 1 minute, until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. The dough should be very elastic and jump back when pressed with a fingertip, but still slightly moist.
  5. Using an oiled spatula or dough scraper, scrape the dough into a 2-qt. greased container. Lightly spray or oil the top of the dough. Cover with lid or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled in size.
  6. After it has risen, scrape the dough onto a floured surface and press down gently to form a rectangle. Give it a business letter turn, round the edges and return to the container. Oil the surface again, cover, and let rise until doubled. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a loaf. Place into oiled loaf pan; cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise until the center is about 1.25″ higher than the pan.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees one hour before baking. Place oven rack at the lowest shelf and place baking stone on top. Place a sheet pan on the floor of the oven and make sure you have some ice cubes handy.
  8. Once the dough has risen, brush the top with the melted butter, then cut a 1/2″ deep slash down the middle of the dough. Quickly set the loaf pan on the baking stone. Take a 1/2 cup of ice cubes and quickly throw them onto the sheet pan (this helps the bread keep moisture). Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. An instant read thermometer should read 190 degrees. Remove pan from oven, remove bread from pan and set on a wire rack. Brush with remaining melted butter. Let cool before eating.