Saturday, June 22, 2013

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Updated 11/21/13

What follows is today's journey in bread making:

Ever since I realized just how much sodium is in store-bought bread, I've been on a mission to find a delicious yet easy recipe for homemade bread.  I love bread.  Sourdough and French were my original favorites, but lately I've been liking more flavorful breads full of whole grain.

With the idea of making the bread fairly healthy, I really wanted to find a 100% whole wheat bread recipe.  I did multiple searches online, but I couldn't find any that didn't include 50% all purpose flour or that didn't look like a super-dense bread.  I wanted it to be fluffy and great for sandwiches.

My husband offered to look, and wouldn't you know that he found exactly what I was looking for.  Here's the link to the recipe:

(For ease of use, or in case the recipe is ever removed from the link above, I've copied the recipe at the end of this post.)

I've been meaning to make this recipe all week, but today, Saturday, I finally decided it was time.  I made the recipe as directed for the most part.  I'm new to making yeast breads, so I didn't want to make any drastic changes.  I didn't have any molasses on hand, so I used equal amounts of honey to replace it.  I'm sure molasses would be good, so maybe I'll try it that way next time.  Also, you know how I said I wanted 100% whole wheat bread?  Wouldn't you know I didn't have quite enough whole wheat flour.  I ran out at 6 cups, so I ended up using about half a cup of all-purpose flour at the end.  Whole wheat flour is now on my grocery list.

Thanks to my mixer, this whipped up pretty quickly.  I "think" I added enough flour, but I guess we'll find out.  It probably takes practice to know when you've added enough flour but not too much.  I didn't want to over-mix it because the recipe warned that the bread would be tough if it were overmixed.  I stopped adding flour and let the dough rest.

That's where I'm at right now: bread resting in the mixing bowl on the counter as directed.  I usually put bread in a "warm place" like a "warm" oven or even outside to rise, but the recipe said to leave it in the bowl, covered, so that's what I did.  It's in the low 70s in my house right now, so I guess we'll see how it turns out.  Worst case, I just wasted a little flour and honey.  Fingers crossed.

Status update: The recipe said the bread would get larger but didn't need to double in size.  I think mine doubled.  It filled the mixing bowl!
bread going into the oven

The bread is now in the oven, and it smells so good!  There's a faint honey smell, but overall the smell is just warm and comforting.  There really isn't anything like the smell of fresh baked bread!

My husband's at a meeting, and should be home anytime.  I hope he gets home soon so that he can smell this delicious bread!  I don't think I'll be able to resist cutting a slice as soon as it comes out of the oven.

bread coming out of the oven
Status update: The bread looked perfect when the oven timer went off.  That was such a relief!  I texted my husband to see if he was on his way home yet. He didn't respond within a few minutes, so I broke down and ate an end.  I mean, what else could I do?

The verdict?  It's perfect, if I do say so myself.  It even tastes good without anything on it, but it's even better with butter.  What isn't?

the first slice

I can't believe how easy it is to make homemade bread!  I'm looking forward to trying it again with molasses and 100% whole wheat flour.

If you're looking for an easy, delicious, homemade, 100% whole wheat bread to make for your family, this recipe is certainly a winner!  It's everything I hoped it would be!

Happy eating!

100% Whole Wheat Bread

2 3/4 cups hot water
1/3 cup olive oil, any oil is fine
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon salt, Sea Salt is good
7 1/2 cups of 100% whole grain wheat flour
2 tablespoons dry active yeast

Place the first five ingredients in the bowl and mix.

Add: 2 Cups 100% Whole Grain Wheat Flour. (to cool the water and end up with warm dough) Mix then add 2 Tbs of Dry Active Yeast. If your not sure about your yeast proof it in a little warm water first.

Add: 4 Cups of 100% Whole Grain Wheat Flour.

Mix until the consistency is some what even. Then continue to slowly add flour 1/2 Cup at a time until the dough quits sticking to the sides of the bowl. It should be tacky to the touch. The trick is to have enough consistency to stand up with the least amount of flour so the bread will be fluffy. It will most likely be 6 1/2 cups but in any case do not exceed 7 1/2 cups of wheat flour. You can trade one cup of wheat flour for one cup of all purpose white if you wish. Don't over mix or the bread will be tough.

When your dough is finished, leave it in the mixer, cover the bowl and let it rise for about 30-45 minutes. The dough will be larger but it doesn't need to double.

Grease two bread pans with Crisco. You can also flour the pans to reduce sticking.

Mix the dough again just enough to knock it down at least close to the original size.

Drop the dough on a floured surface so you can work the dough and shape it. Shape it with your hands to make a nice ball getting enough flour on it so it isn't sticky. Divide the ball in half and do it again. Shape the loaves by turning the dough under it's self over and over. When the dough is shaped the sides and ends will be sealed and all you will see is a nice oblong shaped loaf with smooth sides and top. Drop the loaves in your bread pans and let them rise until almost doubled. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 36 minutes. If you forgot to preheat 41 minutes. (gas oven).

When done turn the bread out of the pan to a rack to cool. You can eat it right away (a great time for real butter) don't wrap it until completely cooled. (Condensation will make it soggy) Put in tinfoil to store on the counter. If you put it in the refrigerator it will turn into a brick. Enjoy.

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