Wheat berries are the whole grain from which wheat flour is milled.
And they increasingly are being used as a standalone grain. Cooked and eaten similar to rice, oats and barley, they have a pleasantly chewy texture and a nutty taste.
In this recipe, they are used to add flavor and texture to a sandwich loaf. It's easiest to cook the wheat berries the day before, but you can cook them the same day as long as you give yourself ample time for cooking and cooling. Wheat berries are widely available at natural-foods stores and at larger grocers.
BUTTERMILK WHEAT BERRY BREAD
Start to finish: 5 hours (20 minutes active)
Makes 2 loaves (about 10 slices each)
1/2 cup wheat berries (both soft and hard will work)
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
6 cups bread flour
In a medium saucepan, cover the wheat berries with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours, or until tender, adding more water as needed. Drain off any excess water, and cool to room temperature.
Once the wheat berries have cooled, in a microwave-safe container, or a small saucepan, heat the buttermilk until just warm to the touch.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warmed buttermilk, yeast and honey. Add the egg, salt, oil and flour. Mix with the dough hook on low until combined and then for 5 minutes on medium speed. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky but come clean from the sides of the bowl.
Add the wheat berries and mix until combined.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.
Coat 2 standard loaf pans with cooking spray.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Flatten each into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. One rectangle at a time, start with a short end and roll up the loaf, pinching to seal. Place each loaf in a prepared pan with the pinched edge at the bottom.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise again until doubled in size.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Using a sharp knife, make deep diagonal slashes across the tops of the loaves. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until deep golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped. The interior temperature should read 200 F. Remove the loaves from the pan and let cool before slicing.
Nutrition facts per slice: 214 calories; 38 calories from fat; 4 g. fat (1 g. saturated; 0 g. trans fats); 13 mg. cholesterol; 36 g. carbohydrate; 7 g. protein; 2 g. fiber; 217 mg. sodium.