Thursday, August 03, 2006

Whole wheat bread recipe

Part of our journey towards a more sustainable life was to try eating more healthfully - more whole grains, less "fortified" foods. So, for several years we paid $5/loaf for good healthy, high fiber, whole grain bread. Then we moved to an area where it was very difficult to get. So we mail ordered it. That worked fine, but it was expensive and we'd forget to order more when we got low, etc.

So, I dug out my stoneware bread pans and started experimenting.

I started with a recipe from Bob's Red Mill and it was good, but didn't have enough fiber and didn't really rise enough. So, I improvised. This is what I came up with:

3 3/4 c warm water (about body temp, too hot will kill your yeast)
1.5 T yeast (I have no idea how many packets this is equal to, I buy the freeze dried stuff at Costco for pennies on the dollar)
3 T olive oil
1.5 T Honey (I like to use local honey)
1.5 T molasses
1.5 T sea salt
3 T flax seeds (should be freshly ground in a coffee grinder for maximum health benefits)
9 c Whole wheat flour (I use a mix of whole wheat pastry flour and "regular" whole wheat flour, it's just cheaper)
5 T wheat gluten

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the sweets (honey and molasses) and allow it to start "waking up". Add the olive oil, sea salt and flax seeds. In a mixer with a dough hook, gradually add the flour and the gluten (I usually do a tablespoon of gluten for each cup of flour). Mix until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is "dry" enough to work with your hands. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, oil your hands (better than flour to keep the dough from sticking) and knead in flour until it no longer feels sticky. This will take about 20 minutes and will really work your arms.

Place in a well-oiled bowl, turn the dough over several times to make sure it is coated in oil, cover the bowl with a towel. Let rise for about an hour or until double in size.

Once it is doubled in size, punch it down and divide it into 2 loaf pans. Oil again, cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled (about an hour).

Bake at 350F for about an hour or until well done.

If you're adding time, you'll realize that this process takes about 3.5 hours. It's definitely not "fast" food.

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