100% Whole Wheat Bread

I’d been talking about it but putting this off for months. I was originally motivated by Beth from When I Come Up for Air (where are you Beth?), but decided it was so much easier to go to the store, grab a loaf of bread off of the shelf, and run home to make a sandwich. I saw no need to make the sandwich making experience anymore difficult than necessary.

Apparently, I’d mentioned it to Darling D more times than I remembered such that he stopped believing it would ever happen. Fortunately, he enjoys my cooking, but he had been anticipating homemade bread ever since I first mentioned making it.

With the price of bread (or just about anything today), I’ve refused to buy it from anywhere but Costco (or in bulk). Straight off of the grocery store shelf can send you spending almost $5 for a loaf of bread. I usually, don’t count the slices, but the next time you buy bread off of the shelf at your local grocery store, count the slices and see how much you’re paying per slice.

I totally like this recipe. It’s really easy – I can quickly whip up a few loaves a week, doesn’t require a bread machine – all I have are loaf pans, and is so delicious – I can hardly get it out of the pan before the hands start grabbing; is it my body or just the bread? You’ll have to make it and find out for yourself.

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Before you do anything, mix the yeast and warm water and set aside. Use warm water and not hot water (kills it) or cold water (doesn’t activate it). The yeast activates better with warm water, but don’t spend time worrying about whether or not you have the right temperature; just use warm water. I always like to get this part out of the way so that by the time I’m finished sifting/mixing the dry ingredients, it has reached the bubbly state.

While the yeast and water are mixing it up together, start combining the dry ingredients. Use either 100% whole wheat flour or mix 1/2 100% whole wheat flour and 1/2 bread flour and add to your mixing bowl.

Next comes the sugar. Okay, many of you probably are honey lovers (Milk & Honey Mommy) and well you should be, but I haven’t tried it with the honey yet. I’m sure it would taste just fine. I’m going to start making this recipe using honey. I’ve got a little too much sugar in my life.

Add the salt and then mix the dry ingredients for a few minutes until combined.

This is what your yeast and water mixture should look like. If it still looks grainy and the water and yeast are separated, then dump it out and make another batch.

Give your yeast/warm water mixture a little stir and then dump it into your mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.

Add your milk and butter. Oops, don’t forget the vinegar. I’m still searching through my archives for that picture. Believe me, just add it!

If you have a bread hook on your mixer, then somewhere through this experience, you may need to use it because the all-purpose blade eventually ceases to mix and knead the way you need it to (knead and need – oh, the complexities of the English language).

I love this hook and use it whenever kneading in a recipe is involved because it saves me from a workout. My arms and fingers would get tired without it. Exercising should be left to do in a gym and not in a kitchen filled with fresh breads, pastas, iced cakes, etc. When I cook, exercising is the last thing on my mind.

NOTE: The picture you see here is after my dough has risen. If you look at the previous picture, then you can see a difference.

Remove the dough from your mixing bowl and place it into a new bowl large enough for the dough to rise. Spray or lightly grease the pan so the dough doesn’t stick when you later remove. Throw a hand towel or kitchen towel over the top of the bowl and let the dough sit and rise until it looks doubled in size. Now, your doubled may not be my doubled, but take a good look at the dough before you cover it so you’ll have something to compare it to when you check back about one to 1 1/2 hours later.

Pour/place, depending upon how stiff it is, the dough into a greased loaf pan, which will be your baking pan.

It’s an awkward fit at first, but it needs to be shaped and molded into the best bread loaf you know it can be – and it can be. Just a little motivational spill for encouragement.

As if you haven’t beaten this dough enough, mash, prod, do whatever it takes until the dough takes the shape of your baking pan. Using the same towel from before, cover your loaf pan, and set aside for the dough to rise a second time.

NOTE: This is after the dough has risen a second time.

This time, when your dough rises, it really should be obvious. A couple of times when I’ve made this, the dough has risen so much that it topples out of the pan. If it does this, then it is alright to bake it as is. If you must, you can cut off the overflow, but be careful not rattle it because if it falls, then the world will come crashing down. Okay, maybe not that severe. What you’ll need to do is first – punch the dough really hard for falling in the first place, second – knead it a little, and then third – place it back in your loaf pan to rise again. This is ready to be baked in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. I bake it for 30 minutes (not 31, not 32, and usually not less than 30 minutes).

When I remove it from the oven, this is what I get. Isn’t it pretty? Place it on a wire rack after letting it cool in the loaf pan for about ten (10) minutes.

A picture like this in our house only lasts long enough for it to be taken. What you don’t see is Darling D standing behind me ready to cut into the bread. Minutes after taking the picture, everyone in our house can be found sitting quietly munching on their slice of fresh, hot, and delicious bread. Keep your butter close by for using.



Adapted from Cents to Get Debt Free
 
Ingredients
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 TBSP yeast
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
     1 tsp. salt
2 TBSP. milk
2 TBSP. butter
1 TBSP vinegar



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How You Do It:
1. Mix yeast and warm water and set aside for ten (10) minutes.
2. Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
3. After the yeast/water mixture has set for ten (10) minutes, add it to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4. Add the milk, vinegar, and butter and blend into the dry ingredients mixture until well combined.
5. If you have a bread hook or kneading/bread making attachment, then you may need to use once the dough becomes more stiff. If necessary, remove dough from the mixing bowl and knead, by hand, on a floured and flat surface.
6. Once dough is fully kneaded, return to the original mixing bowl, cover with a hand towel, and set aside for about one to 1 1/2 hours for the dough to rise.
7. Remove dough from mixing bowl and knead a few more minutes.
8. Place the dough into a sprayed loaf pan, cover with the hand towel, and allow to rise for another 45 minutes to one hour.
9. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees at least 15 minutes before baking so it will be hot and ready to bake the loaf once it has risen.
10. Bake bread for 30 minutes.
11. Remove loaf pan from the oven and allow pan to cool on a wire rack for about ten (10) minutes.
12. Remove bread loaf from pan and allow it to further cool on wire rack until ready to devour.

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Quick Tips:
1. The dough should be soft and springy. If the dough is too moist, then add a little more flour.
2. Let the bread cool as long as you can after baking before slicing. When hot (or slightly warm), it still has the potential for molding and can be flattened when you press on it to slice. Fortunately, this doesn’t take away from the taste, but if you’re looking to impress with a nice looking loaf, you may fall short if it has a smashed look.
3. You can store leftover bread in a plastic bag and refrigerate or prepare for freezing. Ours usually doesn’t last long enough to freeze or to be placed in the refrigerator. I make a few loafs a week because I like fresh bread.

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You can see more recipe shared with Feasting in Fellowship.

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