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Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

April 24, 2013

As many of you may or may not know, I have recently switch our family to a real food diet. I watched a documentary called “Hungry for Change” on Netflix and it has completely changed the way I view food. It really opened my eyes to the fact that we needed a change in our diets or suffer the long term effects of what we Americans think is food. If you are interested in learning more about this check out that documentary or click here to check out a blog that I find to be fabulous on the subject! I’ll talk more about this later 🙂

Anyways, with this new diet I have had to change the way that I cook for my family…every thing is made from scratch or has very few ingredients that are made from whole foods. So things with lots of preservatives and genetically modified foods are a no-no! Because of this factor store bought bread is a no-no! The past couple weeks I have been trying to find a bread recipe that my family really likes. It has been kind of challenge to find a whole wheat bread that is not super dense & it has taken quite a bit of practice to get the kneading and rising to work out. I’m still working on these techniques but seem to be getting better with each loaf. The recipe that I use is based on two different  recipes that I found, click here and here if you want the original recipes. My whole wheat bread recipe is different from both of those listed on the websites since I kind of combined the two recipes, taking the bits and pieces of each and making them into my own version. Through trial and error and some guidance from the above websites, I created my own way to make the most delicious bread! _MG_7524

Here is what you need:

8 cups whole wheat flour (divided plus some extra for kneading)
4 cups luke-warm water (115 degrees F)
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp butter
olive oil

First thing you do is add 3 cups of luke-warm water to a large mixing bowl. Set aside one cup of water for making your yeast grow, I feel it does better with a little water and not all together at once. I could just be making that up though. Anyways, add the honey to the one cup water and then add the yeast and mix it up. The honey is the food for the yeast and will help it grow! While the yeast is preparing (may take a minute or two) mix 3 cups flour with the water in the big bowl using a wooden spoon. When the yeast mixture looks all bubbly add it to the big mixing bowl and stir in 2 more cups of flour. Stir until the lumps are out and cover it with a towel. Let it set for 30 minutes. This will let the gluten break down and allow for the yeast sponge to be created. (I may be making that up as well!)

While you are waiting, melt the butter in a small sauce pan and set it aside. You want the butter to be cool before you add it to the mixture or it could kill the yeast. The sponge will rise a bit, so don’t panic if it is getting bigger. It should look something like this.

_MG_7492A sticky, gooey glob of dough! Next add the butter and salt. When that is combined, add the final three cups of flour. You may want to add them one cup or half a cup at a time to make it easier to stir up. Once all of the flour is incorporated roll it out onto a well floured surface. Now the fun begins!

_MG_7495Your bread may be pretty sticky, mine usually is, just flour your hand and the counter really well and start to knead the bread. I find that the technique that Heavenly Homemaker uses is the easiest, she has a nice little video you can check out. So I basically knead the bread for 10-15 minutes until it stop sticking to the counter. You don’t want to over flour it or over knead it or your bread could break a tooth and will taste like dirt…well not really, but it won’t be that yummy. Once you have finished kneading, put some olive oil in the mixing bowl and put your dough ball back into the bowl. Put a splash of olive oil on the top and give the ball of dough a couple flips in the bowl to get it all covered with oil. This will keep it from sticking and drying out. Here comes some more waiting!! Place a towel over the bowl and let the dough rise for an hour or until it double in size. If your house is drafty you can do like I do and heat the oven up and then turn it off  then crack the door, allowing the heat to escape from the oven and warming the area your bread is rising in. _MG_7497Before…

_MG_7509After and hour. See how lovely it looks! Now for another fun part, DE-GASSING!! There is a real science to this, you take your hand and you punch the center of your dough, like this…

_MG_7510Just squish it around a little bit and then roll the dough out onto the counter again. I usually cut the dough into two pieces at this time. Grab one piece and knead it for about a minute to get the rest of the big air bubbles out. Next you can shape it into a loaf. Do this however you seem fit. Some people roll it all out flat and the roll it, not me though. I just make it into a ball and pull the edges down making the top rounded like so. _MG_7515You will notice there is a bit of a seam in the bottom. I pinch that together making it a nice smooth loaf. Then I place it in a loaf pan that I have either rubbed with olive oil or butter, which ever you prefer. You must be thinking it is time to bake, but you are wrong! Now we re-cover these bad boys with a towel and let them rise again for 30-45 minutes. Don’t leave them to long or the crusts will either separate from the bread or collapse when you bake them.

preheat your oven to 350 degrees F while you are waiting for this final rise. The dough should double in size or pretty close anyways. Bake it in the oven for about 4o minutes, longer if you want a darker crust.

When your bread is done, pull it out of the loaf pans immediately and put on the pan rim or on a cooling rack. If it is left in the pans to long it will get soggy on the bottom and who likes soggy bread? not me!! While the bread is still hot, take some butter and rub it on the tops of the bread. This step, combined with the smell of your kitchen, makes it so hard to wait to cut into it!

_MG_7520Wait for the bread to cool before you slice or it does not cut very well. I think that is the longest wait of the whole process and the most torturing!

So that is it, my homemade whole wheat bread, sounds simple doesn’t it!!

If you have questions feel free to comment below and I will try to answer them the best I can. I am no bread expert, just a Mama learning by trial and error! I hope you enjoy this bread as much as my family does!

PS. If you do not want to bake both loaves at the same time, instead of letting it rise the final time, pop it in the freezer instead. You can pull a frozen loaf out the night before and bake it the next day. I have done this as well, but with how fast we go through bread it is just easier for me to make both loaves!


UPDATE: 5-2-2013

I forgot to mention that the whole wheat unbleached flour mixed with whole wheat makes a much less dense bread. The bread will be more light and fluffy and is very tasty! A half and half mixture was used in the above recipe. I used 4 cups regular whole wheat four and 4 cups of the unbleached flour. Just thought I’d let you know about this little tip, since I had a question about it from a friend who made it and hers turned out very dense. Have a fabulous day!!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Audrey permalink
    April 20, 2014 10:56 am

    I love this recipe. I’ve made it twice now using unbleached and whole wheat flour and it’s now my go to recipe.

  2. Cori Cessna permalink
    May 24, 2014 5:44 pm

    A very dear friend of mine told me a trick of putting your bowl on a heating pad to help your dough rise! Works miracles during the colder months!

    • May 27, 2014 2:11 pm

      Good advice! I sometimes have troubles with that in the winter 🙂

  3. Megan permalink
    January 10, 2015 9:47 pm

    I was wondering if bleached flour would work… Any idea?

    • February 22, 2015 1:25 pm

      I think it would, don’t know till you try it 🙂

  4. theresa permalink
    March 10, 2015 2:41 pm

    Love this recipe I’ve made it many times now my husband and kids tell me it’s the best

  5. Amee permalink
    July 5, 2015 3:34 am

    Thanks for sharing.i love recipe


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