Heads up: This is a fairly picky recipe. You can't make it in a bread machine and you need a heavy duty mixer to make it. If you use a hand mixer it will most likely burn out your motor. If you don't have a mixer and can't borrow one, don't despair! We are planning on sharing various bread recipes using different methods.
I hadn't anticipated doing this post. I wanted my friend, Anna M., to do it. She taught me how to make this and opened my eyes to the world of wheat. But she's a busy girl right now so I'm filling in, but I hope when she has time, to add in a shaping tutorial, because I'm hopeless.
I use my Bosch for bread making. Just like Anna. She also taught me how to make jam. She also taught me how to survive when I moved several hundred miles away from any family. She's my hero. Is this a post about Anna or about wheat bread?
Go ahead and grind some wheat. You want freshly ground wheat flour for this recipe. Not only does the bread taste best when the wheat flour is fresh, the heat from the wheat flour will help the yeast rise.
Ingredients: Freshly ground wheat flour, canola or vegetable oil, white sugar or honey, salt, yeast, warm water and dough enhancer.
Pour your warm water into your mixer.
Add the oil
Add your dough enhancer now too. Dough enhancer helps enhance the dough. Haha. You can read more about dough enhancer here. I put it in because Anna told me so.
You can find dough enhancer in Utah or online. Maybe in some specialty shops, I haven't tried.
And six cups of freshly ground wheat flour.
Mix it together on low speed until it has the consistency of pancake batter. Stop mixing.
Now add your instant dry yeast. If you don't have instant yeast, then save a cup of your water from the beginning and add your yeast to that. Let it develop while you add the other ingredients and add it here. That's what I used to do. But now I buy instant dry yeast...just like Anna. If she told me to jump off a cliff...
While we're on a yeast tangent, I'll just share a little trick Anna taught me (see!) I buy my yeast from a wholesale warehouse. When I open one package, I pour it into two tupperware containers. I put one in the fridge to use regularly and one in the freezer to use when the one in the fridge is gone. And I always have at least an unopened package in the pantry. AT LEAST ONE. Usually more. Can you imagine life without yeast? Shudder shudder.
Add three more cups of wheat flour with the yeast and turn on the mixer.
Keep the mixer on low speed for the next few steps.
Add wheat flour a half a cup at a time while the mixer is running. The amount you will add here is will be different each time. How hot it is, how humid, all those things will affect it. So don't have any preconcieved notions.
What you are looking for is the dough pulling away from the side of the bowl.
When this happens, stop the mixer and poke the dough with your finger. If you get dough on your finger then it needs more flour. Start up the mixer and keep adding. What you want is the dough to be tacky, but not sticky.
It may take you a couple times to get the feel of it. You don't want to add too much flour. That will dry out the bread. So be cautious but not afraid of adding flour. On some days it seems like I'm adding cups and cups and cups!
When your dough is tacky, turn the mixer back on low and set the timer for 12 minutes. Walk away from your dough. The mixing will develop the gluten in the wheat flour. Otherwise you would have to allow for several risings. (Raisings?)
This is when I get my pans ready. I can make two large loaves, two medium loaves, two small loaves and one large bagette out of this recipe. It makes a lot of bread.
Use a cooking spray to coat your bread pans. And do a good job. The last thing you want is half your bread left in the pan because you didn't spray enough pam.
Also clean off a surface and spray it with cooking spray. We won't use any more flour. Put it away, resist the temptation.
When the timer goes off, dump, or um, lightly place the dough on your oiled surface.
You want to handle this dough as little as possible. Using your forefinger and thumb, pinch off a lump of dough. Keep the size of your pan in mind when you're doing this. It helps to have the pan right next to you so you can size the dough you'll need.
Look for the smoothest side and use that as your top.
Roll it gently into a loaf.
And using the sides of your hands, shape the ends in and under. and the sides up. Basically you are trying to shape your loaf of bread into a pretty shape. Because how it looks now will be how it looks when it's cooked. Although it will taste the same regardless, so it doesn't REALLy matter. But if you are gifting the bread, it's nice to have it look nice.
Place it gently in your pan. This was a bad estimation: too much dough. I'll show you later what I mean.
Keep shaping and making loaves until the bread dough is all used up. Remember to handle the dough as little as possible.
And try not to use your fingers as much, use the flat of your hands, it won't leave marks.
See how in most of the pans the bread doesn't fill the entire pan? This is what you want---the dough will really expand and fill the whole pan.
I started shaping bagettes following the directions here. I just don't have enough bread pans so that tutorial was a real help.
Cover your dough with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for about an hour. You want it to rise so pick a warm place. And yes, I realize there is a snowman on my towel.
Here they are after an hour. Look how they've filled out their pans.
Here's the one from the top, that I put too much dough in. Poof! Oh well, it happens to the best of us.
Preheat your oven during the last few minutes of the rising time. Put all your loaves in at the same time. I leave my bagette in for a few minutes after the rest of the bread comes out to brown the top. The back of my oven is hotter than the front so I put my larger loaves in the back.
Cook for 25-30 minutes. The tops should be a golden brown and when you knock on the loaves it should sound hollow. Whatever that means, it always sounds the exact same to me.
Turn the loaves upside down and if you used enough cooking spray, the loaves should just fall out. Set them right side up and let them cool. If you leave them in the pans, the bottoms will get soggy from the heat.
The bagette, on the other hand, has a nice crust on the bottom. It's delicious to just tear off and eat with soup. Yum.
Leave your bread on the counter in a bag. Storing it in the fridge will dry it out. Remember there are no preservatives in the bread so it will go bad in a matter of a few days. So eat it up or freeze it. I slice my bread...
...and then double bag it and toss it in the freezer. To defrost just place on the counter. Or when I want a piece of toast I just pull out a slice and stick it in the toaster. Or make a sandwich for a lunch from two frozen pieces of bread, then by the time lunch rolls around the bread has defrosted. Perfect. I use bread and food bags, but you could save your sandwich bread bags and reuse those. Just remember to at least double bag it so freezer burn doesn't rear its ugly head.
If your bread does go stale, make croutons or bread crumbs out of it. It works great!
Enjoy--it's delicious and chock full of whole wheat goodness!
Note: I buy my wheat from the local church cannery. I buy in number ten cans and pouches for my long-term food storage and I just leave those be. Then I buy a 25 lb bulk sack to keep in my pantry to use for cooking/baking. It's only $6 dollars or so and I can keep my eye on it on the pantry. My family is getting used to eating whole wheat foods, and I'm not touching my 30 year supply. Just an idea.
Whole Wheat Bread
made in a mixer with a dough hook
Grind 9-10 cups of wheat (Anna uses 6 c. hard white with 3 c. hard red, I use whatever I have.)
Add to bowl of mixer:
5 c. warm water
2/3 c. canola oil
2/3 c. sugar (or 1/2 as much honey)
2 T. salt
2 T. dough enhancer
6 c. freshly ground whole wheat flour
Mix on lowest speed until consistency of pancake batter - just until moistened. Stop mixing.
3 heaping T. instant dry yeast
3 additional cups of flour
Turn mixer on lowest speed and add flour half cup at a time until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. It should be tacky not sticky. When the dough reaches this consistency, let it knead for 12 minutes.
Remove dough from mixer, divide and form into loaves, and place into greased loaf pans. Cover with clean towels and let raise in a warm place until double about an hour.
Bake at 325-350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and brush tops with shortening or butter for soft crusts. Store bread in plastic bag on counter or freeze until ready to eat.