Okay so I was always intimidated by the idea of making bread. I guess I figured baking was way too much a science and for an “eyeball it” cook like me, well that’s intimidating. Fortunately another fellow Army Wife (I’ll leave her name anonymous for sake of internet privacy ;)) was kind enough to lend me her recipe to get my feet wet in the whole art of making homemade bread. She told me I would never buy another store bought loaf after I got the hang of it, and boy was she right. Last night’s loaf proved that with a little time, finesse, and technique-good things come to those who wait. It took me a while to figure out how to knead the dough properly (you have to be careful not over over-knead whole wheat because it can actually counteract the effectiveness of the yeast), and there were a few times I forgot something simple like the
“salt” component, etc. Regardless, I am so happy I started doing this because I can see what goes into the bread my family and I eat. That and I love being able to add in whatever ingredients I like. Part of the recipe I am posting was given to me by my friend. A few additions and kneading techniques I have added. I hope you enjoy making this as much as I do!
3 cups luke-warm water
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. salt
6 – 7 cups Ultragrain white whole wheat flour. I find that I use more towards 7 cups…plus a little extra for kneading and dusting.
4tbls Wheat Gluten. I discovered I desperately needed this if I wanted to use the Ultragrain flour. Which by the way has more whole grain nutrients than traditional wheat flour. Th Wheat Gluten allows it to rise properly.
1-2 tbls organic honey. Try it first with one and see if you like the sweetness. If not sweet enough go for two next go around 😉
2 tbls flax-mix this and the wheat gluten in when you add your dry ingredients
“In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar. Let sit 10 minutes. Add the oil. Add the dry ingredients starting with 6 cups of flour. Mix all together. Knead the dough thoroughly until all ingredients are incorporated, and dough is smooth, elastic, very slightly sticky, and pulls away from the bowl (6-10 minutes). As you knead the dough, you may add more flour as needed, and repeat the process until dough reaches the desired consistency.”
So I actually mix the dough up first then remove the dough and do all of my kneading over a flour dusted counter top. I do that for 6 minutes. Again I don’t like to go any longer because the wheat will actually start to break down the yeast.
Once I’m done with the kneading process I roll it into a ball then place in a bowl and cover with Seran wrap. I try to keep it somewhere warm, but if it’s not warm, I’ll just let it sit a little longer until it has doubled in size.
Once your dough has double in size rip it in half. This batch yields two loaves so if you don’t need to cook two loaves right then, just store the other half in a zip lock bag in the freezer.
So take the other half then roll out onto a floured surface. I try and roll it out to about the length of your loaf pan and keep the width around 8 inches. Try and shape it into a flat rectangle. Then fold one side (lengthwise) half way then take the other side and fold it over as well. Then pinch shut all the open areas. So once your done folding it you want it to look like this:
Then take a knife and make a slit (lengthwise in the top. Let sit for about another hour until its risen to about this height:
Notice how the slit at the top has opened up and now the bread will bake more evenly and have a roll top look.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
Take out of pan immediately and let cool. i like to serve everyone a piece when its warm with Land O Lakes Cinnamon and Sugar Butter…amazing! Once its cooled down for a few hours, store in a partially zipped zip lock bag over night, then the following day and until its gone zip up completely.