Thursday, May 12, 2011

Serving Up {Bread}: Homemade Wheat Bread

I know carbs have a bad reputation and, as of late, there is a lot of talk about gluten and gluten-intolerance.  I almost feel like this is not a politically correct recipe, but then I'm reminded that this blog is my recipe collection and so post I will!  I will stand up for the loaf of bread and declare, "I am not afraid of carbs".  Okay, I am scared of the white carbs that come in the form of bread loafs at the store that contain 32 ingredients of which I can only pronounce four...  But this is not that loaf!

Three years ago I went to a bread making class at my church and this is the recipe that I learned to make.  We learned about grinding our own wheat and using it while it was fresh because of the nutritional value that freshly ground wheat contains.  We were reminded that we have been taught (here) that grains were meant for our consumption.  I have been making homemade bread, this recipe specifically, ever since.  I will admit that since our move I have not made it as often as I would like, but up until our move I made this weekly and stopped purchasing store bought bread altogether.  This isn't 100% whole wheat, but it does make a light enough loaf that my kids will happily eat it and it is sturdy enough to not tear when using it for sandwiches.  Oh, and it's mighty tasty when it's hot out of the oven and it melts the pat of butter that you smear across it!

(recipe from Erin B.)
(printable version)

This recipe is for a 4-6 quart mixing bowl. It can be easily doubled for a larger capacity bowl.

First, grind 4 cups wheat berries. This will produce 6 cups flour.

Place the following ingredients in bowl:
3 cups warm water
½ cup oil
½ cup honey
2 ½ cups freshly ground flour, or enough to cover the top of the other ingredients.

Mix with a paddle attachment on speed 1 only until flour is wet. Then add:
1 ½ T SAF instant yeast.

Mix briefly, about 15 seconds. Put a dry towel over the bowl and let dough sponge for 15-20 minutes. Now add:

1 Tbs. sea salt
¼ cup vital wheat gluten
½ cup powered milk
1 heaping T dough enhancer
Remainder of freshly ground flour.

Mix with dough hook on speed 1 or 2 for a few (3-5) minutes.

Next, add white (store bought) flour to the mixture until the sides of the mixing bowl are wiping clean from top to bottom. Continuing to add flour will make your bread dense and heavy. Your bowl will do the hard part for you if you pay close attention. Start with 2 ½ cups; you generally won’t add more than 3 cups. At this point your bread will still look very sticky.

When you’ve added enough white flour, knead with dough hook on speed 2 for about 10 minutes. You’ll be able to tell that you’ve kneaded enough when you can pull your dough without it ripping easily. It also will no longer be sticky. The gluten will have formed enough that it will appear shiny and elastic.

Crisco your hands and counter top or cutting board, and dump dough onto work surface. Cut into three equal portions. Form loaves by allowing the dough to fall over your fingertips with your thumbs on top. Once you’ve formed a large circle, place the dough on counter and, with your palms up, squeeze inward with the pinkie sides of your hands while rotating in a circle. This will form a nice oval shaped loaf. Place in greased pans.

Place loaf pans on a cutting board or wire rack. Cover with dry towel and let double in size. This usually takes 30-60 minutes.

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 27-30 minutes. If loaves are getting too brown, tent with tin foil.

Once out of oven, remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. If desired, rub tops of hot bread with butter or shortening, or spray with Vegalene for a shiny appearance.

Do not place in bags until completely cool. Never freeze until completely cool.

When thawing, microwave single loaf on high for 2 ½ minutes.

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