Monday, March 19, 2012

100 Percent Whole Wheat Loaf

I have been making all of our sandwich bread for the last 2 years or so. I used to use LuAnn's whole wheat bread recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe that produced 4 (1 lb.) loaves at at time.  It was really good, but I realized that it was just too much for my 6 quart kitchen aid and was burning out my motor. I now use a recipe tweaked from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion cookbook. It makes a larger loaf (make sure you have the right size pan!) and I actually like the final product better than the other recipe. My favorite pans to use for the King Aurthur loaves are the Chicago Metallic Commercial 1 1/2 lb. loaf pans. They really make a difference in the crust not getting too hard or browned.  Every time I make bread I make 2 loaves, 1 in my kitchen aid and 1 in my bread maker on dough setting. The bread maker almost always gets my loaves a little lighter and fluffier and have a shorter rise time by about 20 min.

100 Percent Whole Wheat Loaf - Yields 1 (1.5 lb) loaf
1 1/2 C (12 oz--I always weigh this one) warm water
3 Tbs olive oil
5 Tbs honey, molasses, or maple syrup (I prefer honey. I've tried them all plus agave and honey is the best to me)
3 1/2 C whole wheat flour (I use fresh ground white wheat that I grind in my Fidibus 21 grain mill)
1 Tbsp gluten
2 tsp dough conditioner (This is KEY to an amazing loaf. And not all dough conditioners/enhancers are created equally. I buy mine on Amazon since I can't find it in stores here. Shirley J's dough conditioner is horrible. FYI.)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast (I used to use dry active but have switched over to instant. I too buy this on Amazon in bulk and store in my fridge/freezer)

For the bread maker:
  1. Put all ingredients in machine in order and select dough. 
  2. After it's finished (about 1 hour 20 min.), take it out and shape the dough to fit your greased pan. 
  3. Cover the pan loosely with greased/sprayed plastic wrap and let sit until it's 1-2 in. above the side of your pan. If you let it rise too long at this point it will collapse on you when it's baking and/or cooling.

For the kitchen aid/mixer:
  1. Put all the ingredients in the mixer and combine with the paddle until it forms a shaggy dough. Turn off the mixer and LET THE DOUGH REST FOR 20 min.  It makes a difference. It gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquids. 
  2. Turn it on to knead with the dough hook for 15-20 min. You can knead by hand, but it will be a denser, smaller loaf.
  3. Let the dough rise in a greased, covered bowl for 1 hour or until double.  If it's extra cold in my house, I turn my oven on to warm, turn it off and let the bowl sit in the warm oven with the door cracked. I don't have to do that in the spring/summer.
  4. When shaping the loaf, I spray my table/counter (rather than flour), dump the dough out and gently deflate any large bubbles. I make it into a thick rectangle, a little longer than the size of the bread pan. I gently roll/shape the loaf into a log, seal the edge, and fold under and seal the sides. I put into a greased pan.
  5. Cover the pan loosely with greased/sprayed plastic wrap and let rise until it's 1-2 in. above the side of your pan. If you let it rise too long at this point it will collapse on you when it's baking and/or cooling. 
  6. Preheat oven to 350*. Bake the bread for 18 min., tent it with foil, and bake another 18 min.  Remove from the oven, turn it out of the pan, and cool on a rack.  It slices better once it's cooled, but it's oh so delicious when it's warm.
Tips for slicing and storage: To keep my slices relatively even, I use a canning lid ring as my guide for each slice and use a good bread knife.  I cut it all up the night that I make it and freeze in gallon ziploc freezer bags, sucking as much air out as possible when I zip it. That way I can take out 1 or 2 slices at a time rather than have to use the whole loaf in a day or two. It thaws really well just sitting out, but you can also nuke it for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave.


A.J. Dub. said...

I am so glad you posted this. I was going to ask you after your last post. :)

What breadmaker do you have?

mad white woman said...

I make my own bread too, but my loaves never look like this. They taste fine, but the sides always looked stretched/cracked (can't think of another way to describe it). Anyway, perhaps I'll try your recipe - thanks for being so detailed and thorough.