Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Betsy's Basic Whole Wheat Bread

Nearly identical to my original recipe, this is the way I make bread now--I make it frequently, and this is our favorite version. It's still a dense whole wheat bread, but it slices well (and even thinly) for sandwiches, holds up for sandwiches, and makes terrific toast. You can add wheat gluten or extra yeast if you want it taller (or bake it in 8x4-inch loaf pans for taller, slimmer loaves). The honey helps the bread keep longer and stay moist.

3 1/2 cups hot water
1 T. instant yeast (rapid rise)
1/2 c. powdered milk
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. oil
scant 1 T. salt
1 c. wheat germ
4 c. whole wheat flour (I use white whole wheat)
3 c. or so of white flour

Heat the water until quite warm. Pour over honey, oil, salt, powdered milk, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour. Stir vigorously (or mix vigorously) for a minute or two. Let stand until lukewarm or even cooler (this is your chance to finish the breakfast dishes). When cool, add yeast and 1-2 cups of white flour. When dough is too stiff to stir, turn out onto well-floured board and knead in remaining cup of flour. This dough will be slightly tacky from the honey--don't knead in too much extra flour. You're not looking for pizza dough here.

Let rise in covered, oiled bowl until double (1-2 hours). Punch down and divide into 2 pieces. Let rest a few minutes and form into loaves. Place into greased loaf pans and let rise until double (? an hour? I don't usually time this).

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or so. If the bread browns too early/much, cover with foil.

Makes 2 loaves

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