Whole Wheat Bread
- 2 cups milk
- 3 T oil
- 1 T salt
- 3 T honey
- 2 T yeast
- 1/3 c lukewarm water
- 5 ½ to 6 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- Dissolve yeast in 1/3 c water. With most modern yeast you can skip this step and just add the dry yeast to the ingredients. If you do this just add the 1/3 c water to the liquid. I usually skip this step with the yeast I use (see tip below).
- Mix all ingredients except the flour. When blended start adding flour. Add the least amount you can to get it to be not too sticky to knead. If you are using a standing mixer, use the dough hook.
- Turn onto a floured board and knead a few times. Again, only add the amount of flour you need. The biggest mistake is adding too much flour resulting in a dry, heavy loaf. The dough should spring back when you push it. This means the gluten is developed.
Note: Usually at this point you put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean towel and let it rise until doubled, punch down, and knead again. I skip this step. It speeds up the process and you don’t add more flour. The only difference is that you might have a slightly less uniform texture (bigger holes) but is that really so bad?
- Divide dough and put in 2 greased loaf pans. Cover pans with a clean cloth and put in a dark warm place. When the top of the loaves are just slightly above the top of the pan, put in an oven that has been pre-heated to 375°.
- Bake at 375° for about 45 min. Loaves should be golden brown. Listen to them. If you still hear a lot of air escaping, they might need a few more minutes.
- Turn loaves out of pans and onto a cooling rack. Place them on their sides and cover with a clean towel to cool.
- The best yeast I have found is SAF Yeast. It is the best quality and very inexpensive ($6 for a pound). You can purchase from King Arthur web site.
- Whole wheat flours differ. King Arthur flour is great but is higher in protein and does result in a different loaf. King Arthur also sells dough enhancers which work well.
- You can easily vary the number of loaves by adding 1 cup of liquid for each loaf and adjust the other measurements accordingly. All measurements are basically even except the 1/3 c water so it is quite easy to adjust.
- If you use water instead of milk the bread will have a less tender texture.
- Potato water (water that you have used to boil potatoes) makes excellent liquid for bread if there is not too much salt in it.
- If your first batch does not turn out well then you are not the first. Your oven temperature could be off, especially if the oven is old. The flour and yeast should be fresh. Try again. Each time you try it you get better at knowing what the dough should feel like before you put it in the pans.
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