Monday, June 6, 2011

Our Favorite Bread Recipe Step by Step.

Thought I would share our favorite recipe for whole wheat bread. This recipe is the best of a whole bunch of recipes all rolled into one and I know we do some things differently than a professional baker would. I really don't think that matters a whole bunch. We usually make bread as a group with different folks doing different parts of the process. It's pretty satisfying and it makes me happy as a Mom to know both my girls can make bread when they need or want to.


three cups of warm water
one and a half tbsp of active dry yeast
one third cup of honey (local is best)
one third cup of molasses (the darker the better)
three cups of all purpose flour
five cups of whole wheat flour
three tbsp of melted butter
shake of salt

Put into a large kitchen mixing bowl
the water, honey, molasses and yeast.

Mix it up with a wooden spoon until the yeast starts to dissolve.

Set the bowl in a warm place to let the yeast bloom. You will see a thick froth on top of the mixture after five or ten minutes. The length of time needed will vary because of room temperature or the yeasts freshness. We always wait to see if the yeast will bloom before mixing in the flour. Sometimes the yeast is too old and doesn't work. Nice to know before you add all that flour.

Mix the flours and the salt together in a separate bowl. Add about half of the flour mixture and the three tbsp of melted butter to the wet yeast mixture........

and mix it in with a wooden spoon.

Keep adding the flour mixture to the yeast mixture until the whole thing forms a ball around the spoon and pulls away from the bowl sides.

sprinkle a fair bit of flour, about half a cup, onto a clean flat surface.

Dump the whole mixture out onto the floured surface and add more flour on top of it.

Knead the dough by pushing it away from you on the counter and rolling the top into the center over and over again. Keep adding flour until the dough no longer sticks to the counter or your hands.
This is the fun part by the way. We knead the bread for ten to fifteen minutes depending on how much festering anger and seething rage we have built up inside of us. It's a great exercise for relieving stress. Enjoy the process and share it with other family members who may benefit from throwing around some dough.!

When all your stress is relieved and the dough is smooth and non sticky, add a splash of oil to the mixing bowl.....

and roll the dough in it to cover.

Cover the dough filled bowl with a clean tea-towel and set it someplace warm.

Warning if you leave the bread on the stove top make sure not to place it over the vent element. (The vent element is the place on your stove top that vents excess heat from the stove when it's turned on.) If the bread gets too hot now you will kill the yeast and the bread won't rise. If it's too cold it will take a very long time to rise.

Turn on the oven to 350 and let the bread rise.

This is what it will look like after 15 or 20 minutes.

Dump the risen dough onto your counter and cut it in half.

Flatten each half out with the heel of your hand and roll them up......

to form a tight log.

Place the loaves into bread pans. I use silicone pans (they're pretty well used) and they don't need oiling but regular non stick pans will need a fine layer of oil to allow the bread to come out of the pan after baking.

Cover the pans with the loaves in them with your clean tea towel and set aside to rise again.

After 5 to 10 minutes.

After about 20 to 30 minutes. Again, how fast your bread rises depends on room temperature and age and type of yeast.

You can see they kept rising in the oven.

All baked and delicious!!!

This is our plain whole wheat bread recipe, we often add ground flax seed (remove some of the flour to add flax seed it absorbs twice as much liquid as flour does) and sunflower seeds. But it's fun to experiment by adding extras.

Let me know if you try this and how it turns out for you.

It really is stress relieving.... especially if there is someone else watching you beat the heck out of the poor dough. Or better yet.... waiting their turn at the bowl.

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