Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread
For the past year or so, I’ve been on the hunt for a whole wheat bread recipe that we could use as a staple around here. I’d been doing halvsies with white flour, trying to improve the texture and flavor because, honestly, I think a lot of genuine whole wheat bread tastes like plywood.
My hunt is over, thanks to my cousins who recently posted this recipe to their blog. It comes from the King Arthur Flour website, which is another one of my favorite recipe sources. This bread is soft, light, moist, and my one-year-old likes it. Oh, and Steve and I like it, too. I cheated and used my bread machine to make the dough, but I shaped it myself and baked it in the oven. It was fantastic. If you don’t have a bread maker, either use a dough hook in a stand mixer or your own two hands.
Another realization I’ve had lately is that my kitchen is usually too cold for proofing dough. It frustrated me that everything took FOR-EVER to rise. So, I use a little trick that works perfectly every time. If you don’t already do this, you should because it works. Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (probably around 170), then turn it off. Put the dough in the oven and cover it with a towel. That’s it. I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier. Maybe I was afraid of accidentally cooking my dough. I got pizza dough to rise in 15 minutes instead of the usual 30-45. That’s reason enough for me.
Anyway, here’s the bread recipe. It’s definitely a keeper.
from the King Arthur Flour website2 1/2 tsp instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
1 1/3 c water
1/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c honey, molasses, or maple syrup (I used honey.)
3 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 tsp salt
Combine all of the ingredients, and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Dump the dough out on to a lightly greased coutnertop. Oil your hands, and knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and supple. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow the dough to rise until puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Shape it into an 8-inch log and place in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Cover the pan loosely with a towel, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 hour, or until it’s crowned about 1-2 inches above the edge of the pan.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes. (I’ve done it tented and not tented and I think both ways work fine.) Test for doneness by lightly tapping the top. If it sounds hollow, then it’s done. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing.
1. Like I said, you can use a bread machine or a stand mixer to make the dough if kneading makes you nervous. Just add the ingredients into your bread maker in the usual order it tells you to (liquids, oils, dry, yeast), run the bread maker on the “dough setting”, remove and shape the dough, let it rise once more, and bake as directed above.