~Loving the Simple Ways of Living~

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Favorite Bread Recipe

As I promised, here is the yummy homemade whole wheat bread recipe. This turned out great the first time I made it (always love that in a recipe.) After you make this a couple of times and get it down pat, you'll be able to bake this bread up like second nature.

Whole Wheat Bread

2 C. warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/3 C. olive oil
1/4 C. honey
1 egg
3 1/2 tsp. yeast
5-6 C. whole wheat flour ( I use King Arthur Flour)
2 tsp. sea salt

Needed Items:
mixer with a dough hook
container or bowl for proofing
two loaf pans 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2 1/2"
measuring spoons and cups

bread baking tip: bring all ingredients to room temperature so that a cold ingredient doesn't deactivate your yeast. I keep my yeast in the freezer to keep it fresh and so this is very important.

tip: grease your mixing bowl generously with olive oil as well as the dough hook. This will keep the dough from climbing the hook while you are kneading it! It may get near the top, but it shouldn't go over.

Combine water, oil, honey, and egg in mixing bowl.

Add yeast and then three cups of flour and salt.

tip: if your mixing bowl is stainless steel and the temperature in your room is causing the bowl to be very cold, either heat the bowl with warm water before beginning, or be sure that your water is right at 115 degrees because the cold bowl can bring down the temperature.
tip: measure your oil first and then honey using the same measuring cup. This will help the honey come out easily and completely.
tip: always add the salt with the flour so as not to kill the yeast. I usually add it to the third cup of flour.

Continue adding two more cups of flour. On the sixth cup, add only as needed. Starting timing your kneading process with a timer for 10 minutes. Watch the dough as it kneads and add just a bit more flour here and there as you see it getting too sticky and leaving too much on the sides of the bowl.

tip: several things will determine how much flour you must add at this point Try not to add more than necessary as it will make your bread heavy.It should be a bit sticky, but not as to leave dough on your hands when you touch it. Eventually, the bowl sides should be pretty much clean by the kneading.
   Transfer dough to a well greased container for proofing (rising). Roll the dough over to coat with oil. Then cover and place in a warm location. Proof until doubled in size. I like to turn the oven on 350 degrees and sit my container on top of the stove, covered with a lid or a dish cloth.
tip:  After the bread has doubled in size, turn out, punch down, and shape into two loaves.
tip: cut the dough into two loaves that are about the same size.
 no need for a lot of kneading, but you will need to get the air pockets out. I use a rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle and then start on narrow end and roll tightly keeping it from growing longer than the loaf pan.
Place dough into loaf pans that have been lightly coated with olive oil and brush with melted butter.

Proof again letting the loaves rise to just above the top of the pan. Then bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 min. Cool 10 minutes and then turn out of the pans.

tip:  You don't want bread to rise too high or it will collapse over sides of pans and will be difficult to remove.

tip: bread will be done when you thump on it and it sounds hollow.
to remove bread from pan, use a flat edge tool and slip it around the sides to loosen. When you turn out the bread, lay it on a cooling rack on its side to prevent it from collapsing while it is hot.
Do Not Slice Hot Bread!!! It will cause bread to be gummy!! Allow it to cool completely before slicing with a bread knife.

Tip:  be prepared to hear ....is it done yet??? is it done yet??? because the smell is so good!!!

I plan to add photos of each step soon, in case you are a visual person like me.

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