Ok, so in my circle of aquaintances, both in the blogging world and the real world, it seems that if you are a Christian, and conservative, and a homeschooler, and a Mama to many, then you MUST bake your own bread. Not just any bread either, but seriously nutritional bread, made from whole wheat flour. Again, not just any old whole wheat flour will suffice……..trust me I have tried sooo many different types of store bought whole wheat flour……but flour that you grind yourself in a flour mill. I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but there is, and it’s amazing!!!
I finally got a grain mill as a gift from my wonderful husband (who totally benefits from the delicious home baked bread as well), and I immediately got to it. After watching a few YouTube videos on how to work the darn thing, ordering the grain and vital wheat gluten online, and shopping for the rest of the ingredients, I began collecting various recipes online and from friends. Twenty loaves and ten recipes later, I tweaked my bread into the most delicious, nutritious and softest whole wheat home-made bread I have ever tasted! Here is the recipe that I adapted from an amazing recipe that I found from a gal over at http://www.anoregoncottage.com (and she has TONS of other great recipes that I want to try!) You can view her original recipe and some cool tips here: http://www.anoregoncottage.com/whole-wheat-sandwich-bread-101/ or try the one I have had success with below. I have included TONS of pictures, as I always like recipes with TONS of pictures:
INGREDIENTS (makes 2 loaves of bread):
7 cups of FRESHLY milled Hard White Wheat flour
2.5 cups of Warm Water (at least 110 degrees)
1.5 tablespoons Instant Dry Yeast
1/3 cup of Honey
1/3 cup of Canola Oil
2 teaspoons Salt
1.5 tablespoons Vital Wheat Gluten
STEP ONE: Assemble all of the ingredients and equipment to create your ‘Sponge’:
2 cups of freshly milled whole wheat flour
2.5 cups of warm water (at least 110 degrees)
1.5 tablespoons instant active dry yeast
Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer (or other stand mixer)
NutriMill Grain Mixer (or other grain mixer)
SECOND STEP: Assemble the rest of your ingredients and equipment.
5 cups of freshly milled whole wheat flour
1/3 cup of honey
1/3 cup of Canola oil
2 teaspoons of salt
1.5 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
(2) 9×5 inch bread loaf pans
Here are two pictures that show you the difference between what you begin with, and the risen sponge…….just so you know what you are looking for 🙂
STEP THREE: Add the rest of the ingredients until well mixed.
STEP FOUR: Knead the dough.
STEP FIVE: Form the loaves and let the bread rise for the Second Time.
TIPS FOR RISING: Now would be a good time to tell you about the importance of rising. If you rise it too quickly, IT WILL FALL DURING BAKING!! I don’t care if it is a 2 full inches over the pan, if it rises too quickly it will fall flat. Letting your dough rise in a warm oven can cause this. I have tried turning the oven on to the lowest setting for a few minutes and then turning it off……the bread rose great, and then it fell while it cooked. I have tried placing a pan of hot water inside the oven, letting it rise, and it STILL fell while baking. The only method that has worked for me has been placing the bread on top of the refrigerator. NO, it will not get a fantastically huge rise, but it will get about 1/2 to 3/4 inch rise over the pan, and it won’t fall while it bakes.
Whenever I looked for recipes, even the great recipe over at An Oregon Cottage, the bread pictured was always a gorgeously risen loaf…..sort of what you would expect to see in the super market. Through many attempts and countless recipes, I have yet to get such a rise. Many bakers add a little white flour to get such a loaf, but to me, that defeats the nutritional purpose of going to all of the trouble to bake 100% whole wheat. My bread may not be as high, but it is soooo flavorful and works for sandwiches, toast, and snacking.
For information on where I buy all of my bread ingredients, which makes this bread not only delicious and nutritious, but also very frugal for a large family (or any size for that matter) go to my post here: https://raisingservantsofchrist.com/2014/06/06/where-to-buy-quality-bread-ingredients-cheap/