Friday, May 13, 2011

Homemade Whole Wheat Bread

Do you want some yummy homemade bread to go with your jam?  Of course you do!  If your man was impressed with the jam, he will propose for sure when he sees this.  It's Engagement Bread!  (Raise your hand if you remember Engagement Chicken).  (If you're already married with kids, nothing you do will impress him very much after watching childbirth, but at least he won't be wondering what you did all day.  And I guarantee he'll be very very happy).

This is the bread I make almost every week, as "everyday" bread, for breakfast or snacks or toast, or with soup or salads for dinner (supper to all you country girls).  I don't love this for sandwiches, except PB&J.  I always triple this recipe- one for now, one for the freezer, and one for Grandpa.  (This is Grandpa Leland's very favorite).

It  is not heavy like some wheat breads can be, because it is half white flour.  And I promise it is easy.  This is the first yeast bread I ever made, and it has NEVER failed for me.  Never.  You can do this!

Confession time: this is not my recipe.  (Let's be honest here- none of these are actually my recipes).  I originally found it at Tammy's Recipes.  She has a really great blog for simple, frugal, good food.  A couple of her recipes are things that I now make on a regular basis (try the Italian Cheese Bread or Best Ever Waffles).  If you want to read more detailed instructions, reviews, and variations for this bread, head on over there.

I make this in my KitchenAid Stand Mixer and regular bread pans because I don't have a bread machine, but there are instructions for that too, over at her site.  You could also do this by hand, if you want to feel like a real pioneer woman.

Okay, ready?  Here we go!

Kitchen Equipment: Mixer, measuring cups, large bowl, kitchen towel, bread pan, oven, cooling rack

Wheat Bread

Ingredients: 
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F- I just let the water heat up until hot and call it good)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
Instructions: 
1. Combine first six ingredients in mixer fitted with dough hook.  Mix on low just to combine.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead in the mixer (I use speed 3 or 4) until dough is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes.  I usually knead until the dough becomes a ball on the hook and kind of cleans the sides of the bowl.  If that never happens, add more flour by the tablespoon until it comes together more.
This a terrible picture, but this is pretty much what it looks like when I stop kneading.
3.  Place dough in a greased bowl (I use about 1T canola oil, but it doesn't matter.  Anything is fine), turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
This is what it looks like when I first put it in the bowl and flip it over.

This is what it looks like after rising 40 minutes.


4.  After 40 minutes or so, punch dough down.  Flour your countertop and knead by hand for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf.  I use the envelope method (see pictures and instructions below) to make my loaves.  First, form the dough into a rectangle and dimple it with your fingers.
Dimpled rectangle

Next, fold the left side of the rectangle in about one-third of the way, like you would a letter.
Left side folded in.
Then do the same to the right.  Now take the "letter" and put it with the long side facing you again.  Roll it back and forth a little bit until it stretches out longer.  Then, with the seam side up, repeat what you just did: dimple it with your fingers, fold in the left side, and fold in the right side.  The point here is to make the "skin" or outside layer as taut as possible.

Pinch the seam to make sure it is closed firmly.  If you need to, roll it on the counter again a little bit, until it is long enough to almost touch the ends of your loaf pan.  It's okay if it's not perfect.  It will work anyway.
This is what my dough looks like in the pan, before rising.
5.   Place in greased loaf pan, seam-side down, and cover with your towel. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350.
Loaves after rising, ready to bake!
Top view, before baking.  See, not perfect at all.  They didn't rise evenly.  That is okay!
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 27-35 minutes.  My old oven took 27 minutes.  My new one takes 32.  You want to make sure it is done in the middle, so don't pull it too soon.  If loaf starts to get very brown too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.
Finished Product!
7.  Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  You can slice after about 20 minutes.  Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen.  This bread is perfect on the first day, great on the second day, and still good for toast on the third day.  After that, I would use it for French Toast.
You did it!  And isn't it amazing?!
Printable:
Wheat Bread
Ingredients: 
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F- I just let the water heat up until hot and call it good)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
Instructions: 
1. Combine first six ingredients in mixer fitted with dough hook.  Mix on low just to combine.
2. Add flours and yeast, and knead in the mixer (I use speed 3 or 4) until dough is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes.  I usually knead until the dough becomes a ball on the hook and kind of cleans the sides of the bowl.  If that never happens, add more flour by the tablespoon until it comes together more.
3.  Place dough in a greased bowl (I use about 1T canola oil, but it doesn't matter.  Anything is fine), turning once to grease top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
4.  After 40 minutes or so, punch dough down.  Flour your countertop and knead by hand for a few minutes until smooth and then form into a loaf.  I use the envelope method (see instructions below) to make my loaves.  First, form the dough into a rectangle and dimple it with your fingers.  Next, fold the left side of the rectangle in about one-third of the way, like you would a letter.  Then do the same to the right.  Now take the "letter" and put it with the long side facing you again.  Roll it back and forth a little bit until it stretches out longer.  Then, with the seam side up, repeat what you just did: dimple it with your fingers, fold in the left side, and fold in the right side.  The point here is to make the "skin" or outside layer as taut as possible.  Pinch the seam to make sure it is closed firmly.  If you need to, roll it on the counter again a little bit, until it is long enough to almost touch the ends of your loaf pan.  It's okay if it's not perfect.  It will work anyway.
5.   Place in greased loaf pan, seam-side down, and cover with your towel. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 27-35 minutes.  You want to make sure it is done in the middle, so don't pull it too soon.  If loaf starts to get very brown too soon, lightly lay a piece of foil on top of the loaf to prevent too much darkening.
7.  Remove bread from oven and allow to rest in pan for a few minutes.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  You can slice after about 20 minutes.  Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight bag or frozen.  This bread is perfect on the first day, great on the second day, and still good for toast on the third day.  After that, I would use it for French Toast.

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