Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread

This is the bread recipe I use on a daily basis. My Mom has the recipe for it, back home, in a cookbook that's been used so much it's falling apart. The original recipe used white flour and sugar though...and to be honest, I am not sure if this recipe is even the same as that one anymore. I memorized it. Went several months without making it, got married, and then went back to making it. But I'm not sure how accurate my memory is.

Anyway, I love this recipe because it is so flexible! You can mix and match flours, add seasonings, everything. It's fantastic, and, in my opinion, you will go a long way before you find an all around better tasting bread.

I generally do half whole wheat, and half another type of grain, but for this time I think it'd be less confusing to just use the basic recipe.

You will need: Yeast. Whole Wheat Flour. Milk. Water. Eggs. Vegetable Oil. Honey. Salt.

....................Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.......................

Take 2 cups of Milk heat in a sauce pan just until its warm. If you use a microwave I'd put it in there for probably 3 minutes. I add the honey into the warming milk. Because otherwise it's difficult to get the honey to dissolve or mix into the liquid. Put 1 1/2 cups of honey into the sauce pan and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat and dump into mixing bowl. In my case, its a Bosch mixer. Add two cups of coldish water, and 4 Tablespoons of yeast. Or 3 Tablespoons. Whatever you want.


Mix everything up, and let set for about 5-10 minutes. Just until the stuff starts to bubble on top. As you can see, my mixture is seriously bubbling. That's what happens if you abandon the mixture for awhile. It's not a problem. It's just not necessary.
Add oil, salt, eggs, and flour to the yeast mixture and mix. For like, ever. I'm kidding 10 minutes will do it. Keep in mind though, that if the dough seems a little on the stiff side, (ie if you somehow put in a little too much flour or something)...whole wheat gets stiffer with mixing. So go easy on the kneading part if it seems too stiff.
Let the dough rise for another 10-15 minutes...or longer. Again, it's up to you. It also depends on whether or not you used instant yeast. While the dough is rising, grease 5 bread pans.
After the dough has risen, divide the dough into 5 equal pieces. One way to ensure that they're evenly divided is to take two of them at a time and "weigh" them in your hands. Transferring from one to the other. You will be able to feel if one of them seems heavier than the other. Do that to all of them, and try to get it as evenly divided as possible.
After they're divided. Form them into loaves.
Carefully place the loaves into the bread pan. One way to help make sure the loaf rises evenly is to press the dough into the bottom of the pan.
I am not a "poke-the-living-daylights-out-of-the-loaf-with-a-fork-to-keep-bubbles-from-occurring" person. Because if you form the loaf correctly there will be no bubbles. Also, I think a bunch of fork marks on a loaf of bread, really hinders the loaf's "cosmetic appeal". Which is to say, it looks ugly. But, if you are...here's an alternative, that has the same effect. Take a knife and cut a cool design in the top. You want to go deeper than the surface, but don't go quite as deep as that middle line is, because, it doesnt look as cool in the end. Let it rise again, for approx. 30 minutes. Then stick it in the oven for  25-30 minutes. Time varies because of ovens and also a loaf made entirely with whole wheat takes longer to bake. It just does. 
When the timer goes off, you want to see first if its a nice brown color. If it isnt, put it in for longer. If it is, it still may not  be totally done in the middle. It takes a lot of practice to be able to "tell" when bread is baked sufficiently. So one way to help you out, is take your middle finger, and tap the top of the loaf. Your going to want to tap pretty hard. It should make a nice, distinct, hollow sound. If it doesn't, let it bake for another couple minutes. If you're still not sure after tapping it, you can take the pan and flip the loaf out into your hand. [make sure and use a hot pad or glove.] The sides and bottom should look slightly browner than the top. You can also slightly press on the sides to see if there's a lot of give. If there isnt, it's done. So take it out, but don't be afraid to let it bake a little longer if you are doubtful. A slightly over done loaf of bread, is definitely preferable to one with a goo-ey, dough-y center.
Take them out of the pan immediately so they can cool, and butter all of the sides, including the bottom. This helps keep the crust from drying out and getting hard.

So there you have it! Hopefully you like it as much as I do! :)

Recipe

2 cups of warm milk
2 cups of cold water
3-4 Tablespoons of Instant yeast
1 1/2 cups of honey
4 eggs
2 Tablespoons of salt
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
8-9 cups of whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bread pans. Combine milk and honey, add water, add yeast and dissolve. Cover and let rise 5-10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Knead for approx. 10 minutes. Cover and let rise for 10-15 minutes. Divide dough evenly. Form loaves and put them in greased bread pans. Cover, and let rise for approx 30 minutes. Put in oven and bake for 25+ minutes.
Remove when done. Cool. Slice and enjoy! :)

[I generally only make 3 loaves of regular bread. Tune in next time to see what I use the remaining dough for!]
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8 comments:

  1. You remind me so much of your mother. We have been friends forever. I remember you as a little girl me and now here you are writing blogs that really intrigue me . You are doing an awesome job, I like the attention to detail. I have enjoyed cooking for many years and tried many things. Now you have me interested in trying some of these recipes, just because you made them look so good and sound so good. Good job , I'll let you know what I think after I have tried them out. I'll be following your blog

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    1. Oh, now that's kind of intimidating. :) Please do let me know what you think. I'm always open for suggestions. :)I actually remember you, believe it or not, and even if I didn't, I would still feel like I know you, because of mom. :) I'm glad you enjoyed my blog, and thank you so much for following!! :)

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  2. Ok, I have tried like a gazillion times to comment here and it won't let me!! Let's try again...
    Pretty loaf, Vonda! :) Luv ya! :) :)

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    1. Thanks mom! That was actually the first time I tried doing that. I realized that a lot of people do the whole fork poke thingy and I didn't want my favorite recipe mutilated like that... so I figured I'd offer an alternative. :)

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  3. Hi Vonda! Ur blog is wonderful! :) ur bread looks amazing. :) thought I'd share a tip that I've learned... Regular yeast makes bread rise so much higher and prettier than instant yeast. And I don't treat it any differently when I mix it up.. :) although i usually do let it rise till double the first time.. -Alice Overholt

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