Today, in 1 1/2 hours I baked three 1 1/2 pound loaves of whole wheat bread. My husband eats this bread everyday for breakfast. I love it too. Other family members complain that they don't like wheat, or it makes their lips swell. Whatever!
The recipe I'm using:
3 cups of hot (120 degrees) water
1/3 cup of oil
1/3 cup of sweetner
4 cups of whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp. of yeast
1 1/2 tbsp. of dough conditioner
1 tbsp of sea salt
3 to 4 additional cups of whole wheat flour
I thought I'd show you a step-by-step process for making 100% whole wheat bread using my two favorite kitchen machines.
I use the NutriMill grain mill for grinding my Prairie Gold wheat berries into flour
I use the Bosch Universal Plus for kneading my bread. It also mixes everything from cakes to egg whites and everything in between
I start with about 5 cups of wheat berries
I pour them into the top of the NutriMill
Out comes fresh ground, silky, whole wheat flour
Add all the wet ingredients first, then four cups of flour, yeast, and dough conditioner (if you use any). Turn the mixer on, till all ingredients are well incorporated. Let this mixture sit for about 1/2 hour or longer if you want. This is called the sponge, and it allows the whole wheat bran to soften so you produce a softer loaf of bread.
Notice how the mixture has climbed the center post. That is sea salt sprinkled on top, which is the last ingredient you add. Salt tends to retard the action of the yeast.
Now you begin adding the last 3 to 4 cups of flour in this recipe. Notice how the texture of the dough begins to change as the gluten is developed
Almost all the flour is added and the dough is starting to clean the sides of the bowl
The dough has kneaded approximately 8 minutes on speed 1 after all the flour was added. The dough now has a silky look and feel
You don't have to do this step, but to check if your gluten is properly developed, you can perform the "window pane" test. Take a golf ball size piece of dough and stretch it. It should not tear and you should be able to stretch it so thin, that light shows through it. I usually go by the feel and look of the dough
Out of the bowl and onto a slightly oiled countertop. Turn it a couple of times to coat, and knead it for a couple of minutes to pop any air bubbles. At this point you can do a rise to further develop flavor. If you don't have the time, it's not necessary.
Divide into three 1 1/2 pound sections and shape into a loaf
I do the one and only rise in the oiled bread pans. I use NorPro pans. Let rise until the tops just come over the edge
Notice how all three loaves have risen to just over the top of the pans. If you rise them higher, then you will have misshapen loaves when you account for ovenspring (the rising when they first go into the oven). If you lightly touch a loaf, it should leave an imprint, which means the the loaf is finished rising
Three golden, soft, loaves of 100% whole wheat bread. I lightly oil the tops and sides to keep them soft.
Yum! The crust is soft, and the crumb is tender. This bread makes great sandwich bread and toast