Note: This is another transfer over from my family blog... original post here. Circa May 2012.
I made a batch of white bread late last night, and decided that I would try a recipe for wheat bread this morning. The recipe called for DOUGH ENHANCER, and for some reason I thought I had seen it before at the grocery store... so after getting the girls off to their FINAL DAY OF SEMINARY FOR THE YEAR, I headed to Safeway... then Walmart... then King Soopers (yes, 6am). No dough enhancer. I determined to make the bread anyway. I found the recipe here a long time ago, but had never taken the opportunity to make it, most likely due to my aversion to whole wheat bread ingrained in childhood from sack lunches with sandwiches made from small, dense, dark loaves. If they were tuna sandwiches, it was even worse. My mom was determined to feed her family healthily. She would grind wheat and bake bread weekly, I'd guess. I can vaguely remember conversation about how that "store-bought" Wonder-type sandwich bread was nothing but air. No nutritious value. "Wheat for man," she'd say. I certainly see her efforts were valiant and worthy, but at the time it just felt like torture.
But thanks to such an upbringing, I have a desire to feed my family healthier, too. I BUY wheat bread, I just don't eat it (unless I have to). And I'll admit to a twinge of guilt every time I put that white bread in my shopping cart.
Back to today. I was going to make wheat bread (from wheat I ground myself last night, even), and I was going to see if Shawni's recipe really WAS "the best home-made bread." Dough enhancer or not. I could always blame a less-than-successful attempt on that anyway.
One of my loaves turned out looking a little "funny" - certainly not Bake Sale worthy (which is why I was making a lot o' homemade bread in the first place) - so I decided to cut it open and give'r a try.
Oh. My. Stars.
Light, fluffy, de-lish. I wouldn't have believed it was 100% whole wheat had I not ground the wheat myself.
BEST WHOLE WHEAT BREAD EVER
Put into a small bowl* and let sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients:
2 Tbs. yeast
1/2 cup warm water (tap hot)
1 Tbs. sugar
(*Use something bigger than a 1-cup measure - mine foamed over the top, so my bread was most likely lacking a bit of leavening)
In mixer, combine:
5 cups warm water (tap hot again)
7 cups ground whole wheat flour
2 Tbs. salt (you could reduce amount if you are watching your salt)
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey (if you put the oil in the measuring cup first, then add the honey, it will come out all slick into the mixing bowl)
2 Tbs. vital wheat gluten
2 Tbs. dough enhancer (didn't have it, didn't use it... the bread still turned out awesome.)
Mix all together.
Add one more cup of wheat flour.
Add yeast mixture, and mix again.
Gradually add 3 to 5 more cups wheat flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl (I used about 4-1/3 cups).
Knead for 10 minutes - either by hand or in the Bosch
(I think I've mentioned how much I love the $5 Bosch my mom found at her local DI years back and gifted to me. It isn't pretty -less so now that I've used for years - but it gets the job done. LOVE IT.)
Shape into 4 loaves of bread (I spray non-stick spray on my hands so it's not so sticky)
Put in well oiled bread pans. Let rise for 35 to 40 minutes or until almost doubled.
Bake at 350 degrees for 28 minutes.
Another thing I learned: Apparently bread rises faster/higher in glass baking pans. I didn't know. Now I do, and plan to purchase a few more glass pans in the future. When I have some extra dough. Haha.
Bake Sale bread (wheat AND white)... ready to go.