Is there anything that says hearth and home and peace more than a warm loaf of bread fresh from the oven? At least for me, there is nothing finer.
I know that an increasing number of people are finding that they are gluten intolerant, as well as an increasing number of people who are choosing to not consume gluten. I’m sorry for those who, by no choice of their own, cannot eat gluten. Food allergies can be miserable.
However, since I as yet am not intolerant of gluten, I am providing for you my favorite basic recipe for whole wheat bread. I buy whole wheat and then grind it into flour myself at home with an electric grain mill. My wheat of preference is hard white winter wheat. It has a milder flavor than red wheat and makes a beautiful loaf of bread.
Making a good loaf of bread involves more than just having a good recipe. It takes a bit of practice to understand when enough flour has been added, or when the the dough has been kneaded ‘enough’, or even how to tell when the loaf is ready for the oven. It sounds intimidating to a beginner. My first loaves of bread…well…they were good learning experiences. Valuable learning experiences. Bread is often one of those things that just simply takes some practice. So, if your first loaves are not what you’d hoped, keep on working at it, you’ll figure it out. I promise. One day things will just click and you’ll have your ‘Ah ha!’ moment.
The recipe below is designed to be used in a large capacity mixer, such as a Bosch, and makes four loaves of bread. A stand mixer, such as a Kitchenaid, can only handle ingredients for two loaves of bread. You know what to do, right? Yes! Cut the recipe in half. Good job.
The tutorial pictures for this post are fairly extensive; about 40 of them. So, don’t tell me that I don’t love you.
Now add the oil. A quarter cup of oil may sound like a lot of oil, but let’s do some math. 1/4 cup = 4 tablespoons. That means that each LOAF of bread has 1 tablespoon of oil in it. I cut each loaf into about 12 generous slices, so that means that each slice has 1/4 TEASPOON of oil. Still too much oil per slice? No problem–reduce the overall amount of oil to 2 tablespoons and then each slice will only have 1/8 teaspoon of oil per slice.
Now, sprinkle 5 cups of whole wheat flour over the wet ingredients./
When you get to cup #8, add it about 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the mixer to to work the flour into the dough. You will notice that the dough is beginning to stick to itself and is forming a central mass, but it is also still sticking to the sides of the bowl. Keep adding the flour about 1/2 cup at a time for cup #9 and cup #10 (if needed). At some magical point, usually between cups 9 and 10, the dough will leave or clean the sides of the bowl. This is the signal that the dough has enough flour in it. STOP adding flour and allow the mixer to knead the dough for another ten minutes. Make sure to keep the lid on the bowl–I have it off in these photos so that I could take pictures of the kneading process.
So, while the dough is kneading, heat your oven to about 150 degrees F. Newer ovens may only go as low as 170 degrees. Once the oven has heated. Turn it off, but leave the door closed.
While the oven is heating and the dough is kneading, prepare the baking pans. The pans will need to be greased. I usually just spray them with a cooking spray, then spread the spray around evenly with a paper towel.
Isn’t it amazing??????
Alrighty. Time to get back to work.
Open the oven and place the pans side by side allowing a little room between each pan. The bread pans should not be touching the edges of the oven.
/Place a damp kitchen towel (preferably not terry cloth) over the loaves of bread. Close the oven door. Turn on the oven light which will help to keep a warm environment for the bread to rise.
Take the bread out of the oven, remove it from the oven and place each loaf on a wire rack to cool. While the bread is still hot, rub butter over the top of each loaf, if desired.
I’ll share a little trick I learned to help keep the bread stay moist and tender while it is cooling. Using the damp towel that was draped over the bread while it was rising, place the the same still damp towel over and around the loaves while they are cooling. As soon as the bread has cooled, place each loaf in a plastic bag and tie securely closed. If you’d prefer, you can slice the loaves prior to putting them in the bags. Any loaves of bread that you will no be using within a day or two can be wrapped and frozen. Remove from freezer as needed. The frozen bread can be removed by the slices as needed or the whole loaf can removed and defrosted for use.
I hope that you enjoy your delicious homemade bread.
- Mom’s Crazy Cooking blog hop