Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Foolproof Whole Wheat Bread

Atkin's Shmatkins! I love bread. And in almost every instance (except a grilled cheese with tomato soup, yum :) ) it is more delicious to have wheat bread. More delicious and more healthy.
My mom used to make this and now I make it every week. *Yes, with only 2 1/2 in the house it goes that fast. It's that good.
If you're new to wheat and don't want the fiber overload- been there and it does not feel good on the belly - the you can do half white and half wheat; just be wary that the moisture to flour ratio will change with the protein contain of the flour so you may need more or less flour towards the end. Baking is a science but it's also an act of love and it takes practice; just be patient while mixing it up.

Here are a few pictures (sorry they aren't labeled or in order) for reference if you have some questions about what to do.

6 C HOT water
About 12 C Wheat Flour
2 Tbs Salt
1/3 C Oil
2/3 C Honey or Raw Sugar
2 T Yeast

**If your yeast is not instant (most is these days/ look at your package and follow directions) then you will need to start it now. If you aren't sure if your yeast is instant you can do this with all yeast, it just adds an extra step. Put 1/2 C lukewarm water in large container (trust me, I've had it spill over when it grows) with a few Tbs of sugar and mix in your yeast. Leave it to grow-grow-grow.

1- Put 6 C hot water in your mixer equipped with dough-hook (unless you jumpstarted your yeast then you only use 5 C).
2- Add 7 C wheat flour (if you are doing half/half, save the white flour for later). Mix on low until blended. It will be runny and goopy
3- Add salt, oil, and honey. Blend. Again, goopy
4- 1 C flour and mix again.
5- Add yeast or yeast mixture now.
6- Once it is well blended you can start adding the rest of your flour (you can use your white flour now, half/half people). Start with 2-3 C and slowly add remaining cups by 1/2 cups until the dough cleans the sides of your bowl.

Remember that the stickier the dough the more moist and wonderful your bread will be. But you still want to be able to work for it. So use your best judgment. I let mine stick to my finger a little after I've poked it, but still maintain it's shape.
Once your dough is mixed and to your liking. Put your mixer on it's lowest setting and let it knead for 10 minutes. Just walk away.
Now you are ready to make your loaves. Grease 4 bread pans or 7 medium sized ones and set aside.
Grease your hand and pull it out 1/4 at a time and shape on a lightly greased counter top.
Cover loaves with a damp tea towel or if you don't have one (like me) use some damp paper towel.
Raise for 35 minutes and preheat your oven. 350 deg. Fahrenheit 40-45 minutes.
If you like a softer crust oil your tops before baking. Or for a sweet kick, drizzle honey on top before you stick it in the oven.

We love this and hope you do too. See, even Hobbit Jo likes it!