Now, as a much wiser adult, I love baking bread. I make whole wheat and sourdough on a regular basis and am interested in exploring other varieties and expanding my repertoire.
Whole wheat bread is one of those wonderful kitchen sink types of breads where you can muck about with measurements and amounts and put all different kinds of things in it depending on your mood. I use either water or whey (if I've made cheese) and I've varied the the amounts of the different flours I have put in as well. You can leave the wheat germ out and add flax seed. You can also add sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or whatever type of nut you want. It really depends on what you're feeling like that day. Get the basics down and then explore.
2 1/2 cups warm water1 T + 1 t active dry yeast
1 T raw honey
1 T unsulphured molasses
3.5 cups unbleached white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
.5 cups wheat germ
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 T olive oil
Sunflower seeds, nuts, etc
- Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and honey til foamy. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
- Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Add the molasses, wheat germ, salt and olive oil. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour. If using seeds or nuts, add now.
- Increase speed and scrape down the sides until the dough comes together (if it doesn't, add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does, if it's too dry, add water.) Mix at medium speed for 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic
- Turn dough out and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or beeswax canvas and let sit at room temp for 45 minutes to an hour, until it has doubled in size. The colder your kitchen is, the longer it will take for the bread to rise.
- Oil two loaf pans (I like my glass Pyrex ones). Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out. Roll the first section out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle and with the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan. Press it to try and get any air bubbles in the creases out. Drop into the loaf pan seam side down, and repeat with the next section.
- Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again in a warm place until they double in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes until they are honey brown. Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.