I figured I would start the New Year off right by baking a batch of whole wheat bread. I try to keep a supply of homemade bread on hand for my family and decided to share my recipe with you. It is one that has been handed down to me from my parents and has been tweaked and adjusted over the years till it is just how we love it! My folks started making bread when I was a small child after they learned I was allergic to cottonseed oil which was present in almost all store bought baked goods in the 70's. I fondly remember my parents in the kitchen on Sundays mixing up a batch of bread. They would work together while laughing and visiting. After the dough was mixed my dad would get down on his knees with a large bowl on the floor and would do the kneading by hand. I always thought he looked so funny there on the floor pushing his big hands into that ball of dough. Now as an adult I realize how much my folks loved and cared for me to take the time to make that bread. Thanks!
Here is the step by step picture tutorial, part 1
For this recipe you will need:
- 5 1/2 Cups Warm Water
- 2/3 to 3/4 Cup Honey and/or Molasses
- 2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 3 TBSP Yeast
- 14 Cups (approx) Whole Wheat Flour mixture
- 2 TBSP Salt
- 1/2 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
- 1/2 Cup Soy Flour
Buckle up, here we go!
I always begin with my trusty wheat grinder which my mother so kindly passed on to me...thanks mom! I really like my bread to be as fresh as possible so I grind my flour just before I begin the bread. You can certainly use store bought flour and still have delicious bread!
I start with organic wheat that I purchase in bulk from my food co-op
I will grind
5 Cups red whole wheat,
5 Cups white whole wheat,
1 1/2 Cups Oat Groats,
1 1/2 Cup Barley,
1 1/2 Cups Rye Berries
This is my go-to whole grain flour mixture that I use for most breads both quick and yeast.
Into the grinder it goes...
Fill it up and...
you get freshly ground flour! Next you will need...
yeast (I store my bulk yeast in the freezer), honey (and/or molasses) and oil...
Put oil and honey in a large bowl or a mixer attached with a dough hook that can handle a large batch of bread dough. You can also use molasses or some combination of honey and molasses. Molasses gives the bread a darker color and a slightly different taste. I often do half honey and half molasses, today just honey.
Add your very warm...not hot....water and give it a quick stir.
for proper rising make sure you talk to your yeast as you add it, lol!
This is what the yeast will look like when it is first added. Now...
You're going to mix about 1 cup of Whole Wheat Flour with your salt (this will keep the salt from killing the yeast as it tends to do if added directly), and vital wheat gluten. This is where you can also add your soy flour if you are using it
Stir it all up...or have your assistant do it while you eat bonbons!
By now your yeast should look like this...
All puffy and foamy...
Turn on your mixer (if you are using one) and add flour, salt mixture (if you are mixing by hand mix this in thoroughly.
Next add your flour a cupful at a time. You will add approximately 13 cups. Now this will vary slightly due to humidity, flour moisture content and just plain fate. So as you perfect your bread making skills you will learn to know the look and feel of dough that is the right consistency. For me I quit adding flour when the dough starts to pull cleanly away from the mixer bowl
Knead for ten minutes in your mixer...knead for ten minutes if you are doing it by hand and revel in the knowledge that you are burning enough calories to justify an extra slice when you are done!
While your lovely assistant watches the dough you can be painting your nails or some equally productive activity or you could...
Plump some raisins for raisin cinnamon bread! Just add some water to raisins in a pot and bring them to a boil, turn off heat and let the little gems absorb the water while you work on your bread!
After 10 minutes of kneading your dough should look like this, it will be very elasticky...that is the scientific term for it, just so you know!
Put you dough in a large oiled bowl. Turn it over so the bottom is now the top, and the top is now the bottom. That way the top which was the bottom will be covered with oil and the bottom which was the top can also get some too...don't want anyone to feel left out now do we?
Cover with the prettiest, or at least the cleanest kitchen towel you have and place it in a warm spot to rise, I either put mine next to the wood stove or on the kitchen windowsill if there is any sun out. I know some people use the top of their frig. I would do that but I would be afraid the dust bunnies would eat my bread dough before it was done!
Now what? Hmmm
Yep its time to do the dishes. Or you could make your kids do them while you went and read some blogs or took a nap...its totally up to you!
Stay tuned for tomorrow's installment...it's the fun part!!!