Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

Even with my three little munchkins floating around, I still find time to make bread. From my perspective, it's easier to make bread than to drag the kiddos to the store to buy it. Plus, my preschooler LOVES to help me make it--she's been helping me since she was tiny. Haven't you ever thought about where the name "play-do" came from?

This is my favorite recipe, from a now out-of-print random little cookbook called Chattanooga Favorites by Helen Exum. It's a good, basic, slightly sweet whole wheat bread. You can adapt it in several ways. I'll put those options at the end of the recipe. If you use rapid rise (instant) yeast, see the rapid rise version below the original.

Whole Wheat Bread--2 Loaves
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ (not toasted)
  • 3 cups unbleached white flour

Soften active yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Combine hot water, sugar, salt, and oil: cool to lukewarm. Stir in whole wheat flour and wheat germ. Stir in yeast. Add remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Turn out on a lightly floured surface: knead until smooth and satiny. Shape dough in a ball: place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover; let rise in warm place till double (about 1 1/2 hours). Punch down. Cut in 2 portions; shape each in smooth ball. Shape in loaves.* Let rise till double (about 1 hour). Bake about 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

*Recipe doesn't specify, but I typically use lightly greased 8x4 loaf pans for this recipe.

Options:
  • For 100% whole wheat bread, substitute King Arthur white whole wheat flour for the white flour.
  • You may also substitute bread flour for the white flour.
  • You may substitute a slightly smaller amount of honey for the brown sugar if you're cutting back on refined sugars. This makes a wonderful honey-whole-wheat bread!
  • To use rapid rise (instant) yeast: (this is what I do now--I never use ordinary active dry) Use 2 3/4 cups of hot water when mixing it with the sugar/honey, salt, and oil. Stir in whole wheat flour and wheat germ. When mixture is warm (not scalding hot), stir in yeast (no need to proof it in water--just dump the dry yeast in). Add remaining flour to make the dough, following kneading instructions. Instead of the first rise, you can simply let the dough rest for 10 minutes or so, then shape it into loaves. You'll get a more full, yeasty taste if you do two rises, but I frequently just do one these days.

1 comment:

Nada Znebaka said...

your ratio of wheat flour to white is a bit dense. the ratio should be 40% wheat or 50% no higher than that bc it tastes amazing but when using this ratio its like a dough brick. now i do have a question, would you happen to have the recipe out of that cook book that is called "best bread"? i had the cookbook and came online for that recipe and cannot find it which is why i used this recipe bc i cant find the other, my copy got displaced when i moved :(