I love homemade bread. Up until I year ago I was terrified of yeast so I avoided making it at all costs. But then I decided to give it a try and with the help of my good friend's Robin & Kathy I actually got pretty good at it!
But 100% Whole Wheat bread eluded me. Try as I might, it turned into a brick. I did great with a combo of white and whole wheat flour, but I wanted 100% whole wheat. I was about to give up when my friend Brea told me her husband made bread all the time and had a recipe I could try. I was very skeptical, but figured I'd give it a try.
And it worked! It worked great! But I wasn't 100% happy so I tinkered a bit and now I love making this bread. Now I don't have to worry about creating bricks...I have to worry about stopping my husband from eating an entire loaf by himself when I take the fresh baked loaves out of the oven.
Whole Wheat Bread
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/3 cup honey (brown sugar or sugar will also work)
1/3 cup vegetable or light olive oil
1/3 cup milk
Around 6 cups of King Arthur whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
Combine water, yeast, salt & honey in a bowl. Add in 2 cups of the flour and mix very well. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place for 45 minutes.
Add the oil and milk to the mix. Add more flour, a little at a time, until it gets to the consistency that will allow you to knead the bread. This will usually take between 2 ½ – 3 cups of flour, depending on humidity. Knead dough for about 10 minutes (I actually timed it when I first started making bread, now I go by feel), adding a little more flour at a time if the dough gets too sticky. It is not unrealistic to add up to another full cup of flour during the kneading process.
Once the dough is smooth and kneaded well, cover with the same damp cloth and place in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Punch down and then let the dough rise for an additional 45 minutes to an hour.
Punch down dough and divide into 2 equal parts. Roll these into logs and “tuck” in the ends.
Place these logs into 2 greased bread pans and let them rise for 30 – 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 for 35 – 40 minutes. Bread is done when it makes a hallow sound when taped and is golden brown on top. Let bread cool in pans for about 5 minutes and then remove from pans.
Why King Arthur Flour? It works so much better then anything else I’ve ever used! It makes better bread with a better taste and a better texture. It is worth the extra money but can be found for really reasonable at Trader Joes. Personally my family likes the White Whole Wheat the best.
A flat wire whisk makes a great “spoon” to mix for Phase 1 and the beginning of Phase 2.
You can always use a combination of white and whole wheat if that is what you prefer.
This recipe does great if you replace a little of the flour with some ground flax seed meal. I have used up to ½ a cup and it works and tastes great.
This dough does not freeze well but the finished product does.
If you can, get your yeast at Costco. I use RedStar yeast and a small jar (4 oz.) is $4.89 (on sale) at the regular grocery store. A large brick (2 lbs!) was only $3.89 at Costco. I'm thinking I've got at least 6 months, maybe even a year's worth, of yeast in my freezer. Buying yeast in bulk like this really makes baking your own bread a budget helper!