Friday, February 14, 2014

100% Whole Wheat Bread

I love making bread at home. It's just so fun and it makes your house smell like the most amazing bakery. It's also really really easy if you have a stand mixer, I use my Kitchenaid and it's the best appliance I own. Another reason, of course is that you know what's going in the bread. Most "whole wheat" breads you buy at the store are not 100% whole wheat. This one is aaaalll whole wheat. That might actually scare you because you think it'll be dense but as long as you know the secret trick, your bread will come out fluffy and easy to slice.


-1 to 1 1/4 cups of lukewarm water (90-110F) This is the secret trick. In baking, everything can change your recipe. Humidity, where you rise your bread, how you knead, EVERYTHING. You may need more or less water depending on the time of year or what the weather is doing. That's why we have this variation of 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup of water.
Whole wheat flour is a little bit more dense because it is ground more coarsely. The speckles in the flour are bits of bran. This means that naturally, whole wheat flour will require more water than if you were using All Purpose flour.
During the summer, when it's humid or stormy, you will need less water. You will also need less water if you measure flour the correct way, meaning you measure the flour by weight or you sprinkle in into the measuring cup and then level it off with a knife.
Now, you will need the larger amount of water if you're baking in winter or if it's a dry or not so humid day out. And if you measure flour by dipping your measuring cup into the bag and then leveling it off you will also need more water.
-1/4 cup of vegetable oil (I use organic canola oil)
-1/4 cup of honey, maple syrup or molasses. I use honey.
-3 and 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour is still 100% whole wheat, it's just taken from a different strain of red wheat. It's cool to bake with this because you can hide the fact it's whole wheat from the non-believers.
-2 and 1/2 teaspoons of instant yeast, or 1 packet of active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water you measured up there.
-1/4 cup of Baker's special dry milk or nonfat dried milk
-1 and 1/4 teaspoons of salt

-In a small bowl, whisk all your dry ingredients together.

-In a large bowl, or in the bowl of your Kitchenaid, mix the dry ingredients with the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.

-Combine until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. This is when you'll try to figure out if you need more water or not. It should feel a little tacky but not so sticky like gum.

-If this looks too dry to you, then good job! IT IS! But I made a mistake and was rushing through this part and didn't realize I needed more water. I only found out after I let it rise. But that's ok because you can still add water to your dough after it has risen that first time.
-Ok, so now let your dough rest for 20-30 minutes. This will give the flour a chance to absorb the water.
-Once rested, you'll want to knead. Oil your hands a little and knead the dough on a dry and clean surface for about 8-10 minutes. If you're using a stand mixer, knead it on speed 2-4 for about 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and supple, soft yet still firm. Go here to see how a professional kneads.
-Transfer your dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover it. I like to put mine in the oven (not turned on), with the light on. The light gives you just enough warmth to allow the dough to rise well. You'll want it to double in size, should take 1-2 hours.

-Once doubled, transfer the dough to a clean surface and shape into a log. Place it into an oiled 8"x4" loaf pan. Your pan can be a little smaller or bigger, not a big deal. See the best way to shape it here.
-Now, cover it with a piece of oiled plastic wrap and place it back into the oven. You want the center to rise until the dough crowns 1" above the pan, should take 1-2 hours.

-Towards the end of the rising time, take your dough out of the oven (if you did end up putting it in there), and preheat your oven to 350F.
-Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes. If you notice it's getting too dark, tent it with aluminum foil for the last 20 minutes.

-Take your bread out of the pan and let it cool on a wire rack. If you want a softer crust, you can rub the top with some butter as soon as it comes out. That might make it a little bit harder to slice, so it's really up to you.

-Make sure you let the bread cool COMPLETELY before you slice it. At least an hour. You can store it wrapped in foil and then place it in a ziplock bag at room temperature. I like to slice the entire loaf, place it in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer. You can take it straight out of the freezer and put it in your toaster and it'll come out perfect.

16 servings:1 slice each
Nutritional Info: 150 calories, 3.5g total fat, 200mg sodium, 24g carbs, 3g fiber, 5g sugar, 5g protein

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