I choose fresh homemade bread over a slice of cake hands down. I guess I'm just that "home and hearth" kind of girl. It's comfort food for me, and the loud humming of the mixer is music to my ears. Mom used to crank out 10 delicious loaves at a time... nothing short of a miracle... not to be sacrilegious. :) Well- I've finally found it. I know I have said it before, but this time, I really believe it. The perfect whole wheat bread recipe. I have now used this recipe 5 times it is has turned out perfectly every time. It is really similar to my old recipe, but it uses less oil and honey, doesn't seem quite so tough on my mixer (It makes one less loaf than my other recipe. I have only tried the 3-loaf version.) and it holds together perfectly. It must just be the perfect combination! So big thanks to my sister for overcoming her fear of yeast, conquering bread, and sharing the recipe! I hardly ever buy bread now because this is working so well!
*Note: My sis didn't have a mixture when she shared this, so I'm including her tips in case you are in the same boat. Yay- bread, with or without a mixer! Sometimes, when I'm feeling angry, it is seriously therapeutic to take it out on the dough, so I do it by hand anyway. :)
This recipe has worked the best for my mixer-less needs, but it's actually a recipe for a bread mixer. Here's what I do differently from this recipe:
1. I add a cup or two of cracked wheat, oats, or something grainy to give it more texture (thanks, Lydia, for the idea!)
2. Since I don't have a mixer, I put all ingredients but the salt (and using only 5 C flour) in a bowl for 15-20 minutes, give or take, so the gluten can start working before I add the other flour. I have been known to forget and it does overflow if you leave it too long . . .
3. I haven't ever measured out how much flour I use. I just keep adding it while I knead until it's the right texture. I imagine if you use a mixer, you should follow her instructions more closely.
100% Whole Wheat Bread:
4 cups plus 2 T. warm water
1/3 c honey or sugar (either one seems to work, although I know Mom prefers honey :) As do I- I know sugars cheap, but I think honey has a better taste.
1/3 c oil
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T dough enhancer (this is a must--otherwise it's crumbly--our super Walmart sells a can for $3.99)
1 1/4 T salt
10 C whole wheat flour (or whatever mix you like between white & wheat)
(From Lyd: I have been using 8 cups whole wheat, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup buck wheat, 1/2 cup ten grain cereal, it has seemed to be a great combination. I love throwing flax seeds, millet, or cracked wheat in there too, but the latter seems to be the best ratio so far.)
8+ cups warm water
2/3 c honey or sugar
2/3 c oil
3 T yeast
3 T dough enhancer
2 1/2 T salt
20 C whole wheat flour (or whatever mix you like between white & wheat)
Put into your mixer/bowl in this order: water, oil, honey or sugar, dough enhancer and 5 C flour. Put yeast on top of flour. Blend on low speed for 1 min, scrape edge of bowl, then while mixer goes at setting "one," let the dough rest for 5 minutes, absorbing liquids.
Now, continue to knead, a total of 6-7 minutes, adding the rest of flour plus the salt. . . . don't forget it . . . the bread will be horrible!! (I always set the salt right in front of the mixer so as not to forget, because I have forgotten!)
After kneading, just put the lid or some saran wrap over the bowl of dough and let it "rest," "loosen up" for 5 minutes. Now it will be easier to work with. Scrape out of the bowl into a well-floured surface and divide into equal portions, depending on the size of your loaf pans. Mold into loaves and put in greased pans, let rise in warm 180 degree oven for about 30 minutes, then turn up oven to 350 and bake 30 minutes.
(*Just a little side note: Once I form the loaves, I know it's silly, but I have a tradition where I always let the kids "spank that bottom," and they give it a good slap before putting it in the pan. Not exactly "baking with love", but they seem to behave themselves most of the time and rise properly. :) And can I just add how wonderful it is to pop them in and let them rise on warm in the oven. It would seriously take ALL DAY if I didn't do that... believe me, I've tried. This way, it takes mine about an hour and they're at the perfect point.)
When finished baking, take out of oven and set loaf pans on their sides on a cooling rack. Cover loosely with a light cotton towel. This allows the bread to cool, but not lose all the moisture. After about 8-10 minutes, take the loaves out of the pans and continue to cover with a cloth until cooled and ready to slice or bag. -Freezes well if double-bagged.
(A nifty tip that I wish I had read today because I couldn't get that darn thing out of the pan, and left the bottom half of one poor loaf behind. I'll be more patient and follow these instructions next time. I just can't wait to dig into that hot loaf! My favorite thing in all the world.)
Sorry I had so much to add- hope you can find the recipe between me and my sister's comments. :) It's just so exciting to come across a good bread recipe, and it's hard for me to keep my mouth shut. :)
Happy Bread Making!!!