Saturday, January 9, 2010

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

A few years ago I was seriously blessed by a sweet friend, with a wheat grinder and all that I would need to make homemade whole wheat breads. She also taught me to make bread. In the last few years we both have been through several different recipes to find one that would turn out well enough to use for sandwiches. Fresh ground wheat is much bulkier than what you buy at the store and can tend to make a heavy bread that will overpower the taste of anything you put on your sandwich. Well for Christmas I asked for and received two Paula Deen glazed stoneware loaf pans.

I love them so much, I want 2 more!

They are slightly wider and taller than a standard loaf pan and looked as if they would make a more standard size loaf. Receiving the new loaf pans inspired me to try some new things in the quest for perfect sandwich bread. In the past my bread had been very tasty and was always quickly consumed, but it was just to heavy and short and squatty for a good sandwich. Well, my new attempts worked beautifully and I am so excited, so I want to share what worked with all 2 of my blog readers. LOL

First, here is the pic of one of the fabulous loaves (the recipe makes 2, or you could half it for one).

Isn't it sooo pretty?!?!? It is sooooo tasty as well.
I got the recipe from The Bread Beckers Recipe Collection, but I made a few changes.
3 cups hot tap water
2/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup honey
4 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. Lecithin Granules (I've never tried not using this, but it might turn out fine without it)
2 cups Gluten flour (you could use all purpose or bread flour)
6-7 cups Freshly milled flour (I use a mix of half hard red and half hard white wheat)
OPTIONAL: 1 cup freshly ground flax seed (I use a coffee grinder, but you could use a blender)
2 Tbsp. SAF yeast (I do think the brand of yeast is important, you could try a different brand I suppose, but this is what has worked best to get my bread to turn out.)
I usually get the lecithin, gluten flour, flax seed and yeast at Garden Cove. They tend to last me a very long time, so I do not have to go often.
Preheat the oven to 170*. Combine water, oil, honey, and yeast and mix well. Add gluten flour, half of wheat flour, salt and flax. Mix thoroughly. Continue to add flour while mixing to form a soft dough. I add flour until mine is just beginning to pull away from the bowl and then I let it mix for a few minutes to allow the wheat to the water. I then add the last of my flour and continue kneading until it's pulling well away from the sides and barely sticky to the touch (In other words when I poke my finger down in it it is slightly sticky, but does not stick to my hands when I am handling it.) In the past I have let it knead, per the directions, as much as 8 minutes, but this time I only let it knead for around 5 - 6, and it worked well (I do have a special mixer for this, you could probably use a Kitchenaid and I used to use and Oster kitchen center with dough hooks, but most inexpensive mixers will be taxed with the bulk of the wheat. If you don't have a great mixer you might want to only make a loaf at a time and possibly knead by hand, lots of work, but really yummy.) Spray your counter top with oil and dump dough onto the oil, then spray the dough with oil. Divide in half and place in well greased loaf pans. The dough should fill your pan about halfway. I put them in the oven and let them rise until doubled (for me it was 30-40 minutes). The center of the loaf had just began to peak over the top of the pan. I then turned my oven up to 350* and baked for 25-35 minutes, or until the bread had just begun to brown.
I will tell you, I've tried many people's recipes, that I know work well for them, but they did not work for me. I think some of it depends on your pan size. Loaf pans can be so different from pan to pan. If this seems to be too much dough for your pan, then make 3 loaves out of it. I think a good way to tell is you want the dough, before it has risen, to halfway fill the pan. I also rose it in my oven, because my home is old and a bit drafty and I couldn't get a previous batch to rise well. Rising it in the oven worked so well and went so much faster, that I will probably do that most of the time.

Let me know if you try it and how it works out.


Pam, mom, honey, said...

that is beautiful flour

Pam, mom, honey, said...

OOPS, I meant beautiful bread. Flour is on my mind

Denise :) said...

Yummy! There's nothing quite so comforting as home made bread, fresh out of the oven! Glad you posted about your blog on your facebook. Check out mine, too! :)