While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

While Visions of Sugar Plums Danced. . .

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

*  *   *   Whole Wheat Bread Rising *   *   *  Whole Wheat Bread Rising   *   *   *  

Okay, the dough is in the bowl.  These are my ingredients, roughly:

3 C warm water
pinch of brown sugar
2 generous tsp. yeast

(Let this activate if you want to; not totally necessary if you know you've got good yeast, however, some people really like to see their yeast go to town and get nice and frothy.)

Add to this:

1 T salt
1/4 C oil   
        ** DH likes to add olive oil; I think canola is good, too

1/2 C honey   
***  If you put the 1/4 C oil in the 1/2 C measure before you pour it into the yeast mixture, then pour the honey into the oiled 1/2 C after that, most all of the honey goes into the bowl, and doesn't stick to the measuring cup.  Nice for those who like just a  little mess.

1/2 C non-fat milk powder

Mix well.

To this, add:

4 C whole wheat bread flour
1/2 to 1 C rolled oats
1/4 to 1/2 C millet or quinoa
1/4 C wheat germ
4-6 C of unbleached white bread flour

Knead until smooth, elastic and nicely responsive to your touch.  Tuck into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl to rise to double it's size.  This may take an hour and a half, or it may take longer, depending on the temp in you house, whether you have the woodstove going, or have been making chicken stock on the stove, are drying apples in the dehydrator, etc.  

When the dough has doubled, gently press it down again and let rest for 10 minutes, after which divide the dough into two even pieces, and fold into two loaves (or rounds if you prefer) and place into two clay loaf pans to rise again.  This rise will be shorter, about half the time of the first rise.  Don't let it go too long, or the gluten will become exhausted, and the bread won't "spring" in the oven.

When risen, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  If you have a baking stone in your oven (for pizza) and the breads are firm enough, take the loaves out of the pans and place on the stone for another 10 or so minutes.  If you don't have a stone, just bake for 40 minutes, or until the breads are nicely browned, and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Set to cool on racks. While warmish, but not *too* warm, cut and enjoy.

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