Thursday, May 28, 2009
Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread
WOW! This recipe knocked my socks off today! I scoured the internet to try to find a good whole wheat bread recipe, but I didn't have all of the necessary ingredients to try some of the online versions that looked intriguing. However, right on the back of my bag of whole wheat flour was a recipe that looked good and my cupboard was storing all I needed. Well, let me tell you...I will NOT be trying any of the online recipes because this one was SO incredibly good! Ok, so maybe I will try one of the online ones, but that is just because I really like to cook and bake, but this one is really going to be hard to top. And most of the online recipes are not 100% whole wheat, so this is much healthier for you and it seriously is just as good...actually better than store bought bread.
Ok...enough of my rant...here is the recipe.
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 T water (I actually messed up and did NOT dissolve the yeast...I just added it straight to the dry ingredients and it turned out fine)
1 1/3 cups lukewarm water (usually around 110 degrees F...I just turned on the tap to hot and filled up my cup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup (I used honey)
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat flour (this flour is nice b/c it is 100% of the wheat germ and bran, never bleached, never bromated)...I actually used 1/4 cup extra
1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
**Please don't be intimidated by these directions. Basically all this stuff says is...dump all the ingredients together, if you have a Kitchen Aid, stir with a dough hook for about 10 minutes, let it rise for an hour, shape it into a log, put it in your pan, let it rise one more hour and bake it for 40 minutes.
Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients (I added the dry first, including the dry yeast, and mixed thoroughly...then added the wet on top) and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6-8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also complete this entire process in an electric mixer i.e. Kitchen Aid with dough hook or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual") I used the Kitchen Aid on 1 for about 5 minutes, then added the 1/4 c extra flour and mixed an additional 5 minutes until it came away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, flip to grease both sides, cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface and shape it into an 8 inch log. (I like to make it into an 8 x 13 inch flat piece, then roll from one end to the other. This helps keep the loaf light as opposed to being rather dense.) Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (I like using glass). Cover the pan loosely with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap and allow the bread to rise for about 30 to 60 minutes, or until it's crowned about 1 inch above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.
Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes. Lightly cover with a tent of foil for the last 20 minutes of cooking. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190 degrees F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pan, and cool it on a rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf