my bread making process

i’m working on bread right now and thought i would blog about the recipe i’ve been using and my process. so far it hasn’t failed me yet! it’s very yummy, hearty, light… (i’ve been trying to write this blog for days now. yay for me getting it done!)

WHOLE WHEAT HONEY BREAD

1/2 cup very warm water (110-115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons yeast

Dissolve the sugar in warm water. add the yeast and mix to dissolve. cover with a washcloth/towel and let proof (get foamy. the sugar causes this).

While the yeast is proofing mix together the following. (i use my kitchen aid to make/knead bread so i mix it in there.)

1/2 cup honey
1/4 coconut oil (can use melted butter)
3 teaspoons sea salt
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (use a good quality flour like king arthur, it makes a better bread)
2 1/4 cups very warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (can be found near yeast/flour in the grocery store)
2 tablespoons dough enhancer (i’ve had to order this online)
3 good-sized handfuls of flax seeds*
2 handfuls of sunflower seeds*
2 handfuls of steel-cut oats (or oatmeal)*
the yeast that has been proofing

Start mixing together. while mixing add in another 3-4 cups of whole wheat flour. knead until a nice soft, elastic dough forms. grease a bowl and let it rise, covered with a towel until doubled. thanks to a great suggestion by a great smart friend…i let mine rise in the oven along with a dish of boiling hot water. the steam/humidity helps the dough rise wonderfully and in a much shorter amount of time! it usually rises in about 30-35 mins both times! (in the summer time i put them out in our hot steamy garage.)

once the dough has risen, punch down and divide in half. form your dough into loaves and place in greased bread pans. i use 9x5x2 in pans. cover again with a towel and let rise. i switch out the boiling water for the second rising time. once it has risen, take out of the oven and heat it to 375 degrees.

bake for 30 mins at 375. turn the oven down to 350 and bake another 15-25 mins. i usually bake mine until it reaches 185-190 internal degrees. i learned this from the king arthur website and seems to work well for me. i’ve always had a hard time telling when the bread was done. i know there are tricks like…if you tap it and it sounds hollow its done, if the sides of the bread are getting golden brown its done…but, so far checking the internal temp has worked great for me!
once its baked, take out of the pans and cool on wire racks.

 

 

 

doesn’t it look so yummy? it’s so hard for me to NOT slice it while it’s warm. if i do this…i can’t stop eating it! see the seeds and oats?

 

 

 

once it has cooled i slice it up…and still don’t eat any! i really need a good bread knife by the way. i stack up the slices nicely while slicing the entire loaf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

then, i place it nice and tight into a good ziploc freezer bag. (i reuse these as long as the ziploc zipper doesn’t get busted or there are no holes in the bag.) when we need bread for toast or sandwiches we take out the slices we need and the rest goes back in the freezer! so far, two loaves has been lasting us a week. we eat toast most mornings and i pack anywhere from 1-3 lunches a day. i don’t always pack sandwiches…good thing because we’d go through more than 2 loaves a week!

its such a good hearty bread and we all love it! thanks to my friend sarah for the recipe…which yes, i made changes too!

the process sounds long but once i did i a few times i got into a good routine. the ingredients i have marked with an (*) are not necessary but they add grains/nutrients/omega 3’s…they provide many health benefits! regarding the dough enhancer and the vital wheat gluten. i have attempted to make a good light, whole wheat bread many times and always ended up with a dense, dry bread. adding the vital wheat gluten i key to a good whole wheat sandwich bread. i can find it at my local grocery store and i think i pay $3 or less for a little box of it. it lasts me more than one month, maybe even more than 2. it promises to make higher rising loaves, increase protein, extend freshness and has vitamin c. it tells you how much to add per the amount of flour/dry ingredients your recipe calls for. once i started using the vital wheat gluten i never had problems with my whole wheat dough rising. once the dough has gone through the kneading process it feels so soft and elastic, something i had hard time achieving without it. the other key ingredient i feel in making a good whole wheat sandwich bread is using a good quality flour. i’ve tired just using the store brand whole wheat flour but it doesn’t cut it. the difference between a store brand and a good quality whole wheat flour like king arthur is quite different. the store brand is coarse. king arthur flour is very fine. once i started using king arthur with the vital wheat gluten my bread starting coming out beautifully!

as for the dough enhancer, which a friend and i searched for in our area with no luck – we use it in most bake goods we make. i’ve been wanting to try to make the bread without it and see if i notice a difference. i use it in muffins, biscuits…anything like that that isn’t going to eaten right up. it promises to make fluffier bake goods, enhance natural flavor and increases dough strength and shelf life. it has a handful of ingredients but all ones i recognize and can pronounce! it will last me months!

now, someday i would love to get my hands on some wheat and a grinder and grind my own flour as i need it! that would be so wonderful!

the bread is done and it smells wonderful…just wonderful!

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1 Comment

  1. February 20, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    […] sunday is my bread making day. i posted about my bread making process last week and today i did a few experiments. they turned out […]


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