If you're tired of making brick-like whole wheat loaves of bread, I have good news for you! Here is a recipe and a method which will give you the light, tasty, whole wheat loaf you've been dreaming about.
If you've struggled with producing quality home-made bread, I recommend you review my previous posts about the proper tools and method necessary to consistently making a satisfactory loaf of bread. Find the initial one here: https://www.grit.com/food/recipes/homemade-bread-101-zb0z1804
With this recipe, you can use any type of 100 percent whole wheat flour (I prefer organic) or even grind your own flour from wheat berries. In my next blog I'll talk about how to use sprouted wheat flour and berries and the benefits of the sprouted wheat.
If you're already using sprouted wheat or sprouted wheat berries, those products work just fine with this recipe.
If you don't have a bread machine, you can still make this bread. However, the rise of the loaf and the texture of the bread is likely to be heavier than if you use a bread machine for the mixing and kneading. If mixing and kneading by hand, be sure to do so very thoroughly. For making the bread without a machine, see the instructions for the final rise.
- 2-3 quart mixing bowl
- 2-cup measuring utensil
- Measuring cups, from 1/4-cup size on up to 1-cup
- Whisk or fork
- Digital thermometer
- Bread machine
- Bread pan
- Butter, oil or no-stick spray to coat bread pan
- 1-1/4 cups water, ranging from 105 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1-1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon gluten
- 3-1/2 to 3-3/4 cup 100 percent whole wheat flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (recommend Himalayan pink salt)
- 2 Tablespoons of melted butter or oil
- If necessary (typically during the winter months), use hot tap water to heat your 2-cup measuring utensil and bread machine pan before preparing your bread dough. This usually takes 4-5 minutes once the hot water is placed in the utensil. Once the measuring cup and pan have been warmed, pour the water out.
- Place 1-1/4 cups of hot tap water in 2-cup measuring utensil. Use a digital thermometer to test the water's temperature. If it's too cold, it can be heated to the proper temperature. If it's too warm, allow it to sit at room temperature until it reaches the 105-109 degree temperature range.
- If you're using refrigerated syrup or honey, check the water's temperature again before adding yeast to the water. If it's too cold, heat it to the appropriate temperature (105-109 degrees); if too hot, allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Once the water temperature is in the appropriate range, dissolve the yeast (by stirring) in the water. Allow the yeast mixture to rest for 5-7 minutes. It will form a "head" to indicate that the yeast is activated.
- In large mixing bowl, measure flour, gluten and salt. Sift all the ingredients together using a whisk or a fork.
- If using butter, melt it just till it's soft enough to easily blend into the bread dough.
- If you're using a bread machine, pour out the warm water used to heat the bread machine pan. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the pan. Slowly add the flour mixture. Pour the oil or melted butter on top of the flour. Select your machine settings and start the mixing/kneading process (See instructions below if mixing by hand).
- Once the initial kneading/mixing is complete, allow the dough to rest in the bread machine pan until the second kneading cycle is completed.
- Once the second kneading cycle is done, gently place the dough into a coated bread pan, cover it and place it in a warm area (I use my oven, which I heat to 100 degrees) for 30-45 minutes as the dough raises.
- Once the dough is raised, remove it from the oven. Leave the cover on the bread dough. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the oven is ready, remove the cover from the bread dough and place it in the 350-degree oven. Bake it for 30-45 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Try to give it some time to cool before you cut any slices!
- Store the bread in a plastic bag. In summer, homemade bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated once it's cooled.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, gently press the air out of it and knead again for 10-15 minutes. Place the kneaded dough into a coated bread pan, cover the dough and set the pan in a warm area (I use my oven heated to 100 degrees) and allow the bread to raise for 30-45 minutes. Once the dough has raised, heat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove the covering from the pan and place the bread dough into the oven, baking it for 30-45 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned.
- After removing it from the oven, place the baked dough on a cooling rack. Allow it to cool at least 15 minutes before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag. In summer, home-made bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated once it's cooled.
Mixing by hand:
- If you're mixing this dough by hand, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour, stirring as you go until all the yeast mixture is added.
- Add the butter or oil and mix.
- Knead the dough 10-15 minutes. Place in a coated bowl/pan in a warm location (85-100 degrees) for the first rise.
Photo property of Loretta Sorensen.