If you’re tired of making brick-like whole wheat loaves of bread, I have good news for you!
Here are 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 posts about the proper tools and method necessary to consistently making a satisfactory loaf of bread.
2– to 3-quart mixing bowl
2-cup measuring utensil
Measuring cups, from ¼-cup size on up to 1-cup
Whisk or fork
Butter, oil or no-stick spray to coat bread pan
1 ¼ cups water, ranging from 105 to 110 degrees
1 ½ teaspoons yeast
¼ cup sugar, honey or maple syrup
1 Tablespoon gluten
3 ½ cups 100% whole wheat flour (I recommend white wheat for the flavor)
1 ½ teaspoons salt (recommend Himalayan pink salt)
2 Tablespoons of melted butter or oil
f necessary (typically during the winter months), use hot tap water to heat your measuring utensil and bread machine canister before preparing your bread dough. This usually takes just a few minutes once the hot water is placed in the utensil. Pour the water out before measuring your ingredients.
Place 1 ¼ cups of hot tap water in 2-cup measuring utensil. If you’re using refrigerated syrup or honey, it will significantly cool the water’s temperature. Once you’ve added the sweetener and stirred it thoroughly to blend it with the water, check the water’s temperature. If it’s too cold, heat 1 or 2 Tablespoons (stove top) to boost the liquid’s overall temperature (105-110degrees); if too hot, allow it to cool for a few minutes. Once the mixture is within the desired temperature range, add the yeast and stir to dissolve it.
Allow the yeast mixture to rest for 3-5 minutes. It will form a foamy “head” to indicate that the yeast is activated.
While you wait for the yeast, blend your dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, gluten and salt. Sift the ingredients together using a whisk or a fork.
If using butter, melt it slightly or cut into small pieces so it blends thoroughly with your dough.
Once your yeast mixture is ready, pour out the water used to heat the bread machine canister. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the pan, using a spatula to clear the measuring cup. Carefully add the flour mixture to the canister. Pour the oil or softened/chopped butter on top of the flour. Select your machine settings and start the mixing/kneading process.
An effective cycle is knead 10-18 minutes/rest 20 minutes/knead 10-18 minutes.
Before the second cycle completes, prepare your bread pan. If necessary, warm the pan before coating it (spraying with non-stick product, insert parchment, etc.).
Once the second kneading cycle is done, gently place the dough into the coated bread pan, cover it and place it in a warm area (I use my oven, which I heat to close to as warm as 120 degrees). It will take 30-45 minutes for the dough to raise.
Once the dough is raised, place it in a pre-heated 350-degree oven to bake for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and immediately place on a cooling rack. Try to give it some time to cool before you cut any slices!
Once it’s completely cooled, store the bread in a plastic bag. In summer, home-made bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated once it’s cooled.
You may add gluten to this recipe if you desire. However, when using a bread machine to mix/knead the dough, you will get a beautiful rise without added gluten. Whichever method you use to prepare the dough – bread machine, mixer, hand mixing – be sure to thoroughly knead the dough to help develop the gluten, which is a key element in the final rise.