Monday, February 16, 2009

Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread

I originally found this recipe in the instruction manual that was included with my wheat grinder years ago.  I had given up on finding a good wheat bread recipe, until I tried this one, which I've been using since 2004.  I've had so many requests for this recipe, and have visited several of my friend's kitchens to teach them how to make this bread (and many of them have taught others how to make it, or even sold it).  Of all of my recipes, this is one that I come back to again, and again.    

This recipe takes 2 hours from start to finish, with 30 active minutes 

5 ½ cups warm water
2 T. dry yeast
2 T. salt
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
8 cups whole kernel wheat

Combine 5 ½ cups warm water, yeast, salt, oil, and honey in Bosch or large mixer bowl. Let stand 5 -10 minutes to activate yeast.
While yeast proofs, using a wheat grinder, mill 8 cups whole kernel wheat to yield 12 cups of whole-wheat flour.  (The wheat will be warm, and perfect for the yeast if ground at this point). 

Add 8 cups of whole-wheat flour to mixing bowl. If using a Bosch, use the ‘spring-loaded’ position (turning to the left instead of the right) button the switch first to blend the ingredients, or mix on low speed until well blended.
Add 3 – 4 cups more flour, 1 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. (The amount of flour required will vary according to the moisture and protein content of the wheat and your atmosphere/altitude etc. The stickier the dough, the moister the bread, but it should clean the sides of the mixing bowl).   Knead dough on low speed for 10 minutes.

Oil hands and working surface. Remove dough from mixing bowl and with oiled hands, spread into a large rectangle.  Divide into 5 equal portions.  Starting at one end, begin rolling each section, one at a time, into an oblong shape.  Pinch the ends together and turn underneath.  Place in oiled, metal 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8" bread pans (this size seems to work the best, and metal works better than glass).  If desired, oil the top of the loaves for a soft crust.  Cover with a damp cloth, away from drafts, and let rise 1/3 in bulk, or approx. 35 minutes.  

Bake at 425* for 8 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350* for the remainder of the baking period (27 to 32 minutes). Remove from pans when done, and allow to cool on baking racks. Brush tops with butter or oil immediately.  

*Notes:  I specifically use a Bosch mixer with this recipe.  I've tried it with a Kitchenaid mixer, without the same results.  My guess is that it relates to the Bosch's cover retaining the heat perhaps?  

**Because this bread doesn't have any preservatives it can spoil quickly.  I cut mine into half loaves, wrap in plastic, then place in a large ziplock in the freezer.  For a quick defrost, I remove it from the ziplock, and place it in the microwave (still in the plastic) for 1.5 minutes.  This sort of steams it, and it comes out just as if it were fresh from the oven. 

No comments:

Post a Comment