Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The BEST Whole Wheat Bread Ever!

Hi friends!  I feel like I need to apologize, because I've had this recipe since January and it's April and I'm finally getting around to sharing it with you.   

I've bought bread from the store once (that's right...once!) since January.  When I pulled the store bought bread out of the freezer, I remembered why I make bread in the first place.  It's SO much better than store bought (or at least the bread I can buy at my local Smith's)!  
Here are the many reasons why I love this recipe...

1.  It's 100% WHOLE WHEAT, but still super LIGHT and FLUFFY.  My family haven't been big fans of wheat bread in the past since it's usually dense, but they haven't complained about this bread at all.

2.  It's FAST and EASY!  From start to finish this recipe takes less than two hours to make, about an hour and 45 minutes.  There aren't too many steps either.  You're not spending the whole two hours in the kitchen watching over the bread.

3.  It FREEZES WONDERFULLY!  I usually make two loaves of bread.  I slice them both up and we eat one loaf right away.  I stick the other one on the freezer.  When I pull it out of the freezer for lunches, etc. I stick it in the microwave to thaw it for a few seconds and it's as light and fluffy as it was when it first came out of the oven.  In fact, I've served this bread from the freezer with soup for dinner and my husband thought I had made it that day.  

INGREDIENTS:
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This recipe does need two ingredients that you might not have on hand, but it's totally worth it to spend the money on it.  You can buy both of them on Amazon or in a big case at Sam's Club online.  Or if you're lucky your grocery store will carry it.
  • Dough Enhancer - (also called Dough Conditioner) is a natural way to keep your bread fresh longer and improves the taste, texture and crust of your bread.  I bought mine on Amazon here, but you can buy it at Sam's Club too.  You only need about one tablespoon for two loaves of bread, so it will last you a long time.
  • Vital Wheat Gluten -- is the natural protein found in wheat. It contains 75% protein. A small amount added to yeast bread recipes improves the texture and elasticity of the dough.  I have bought mine at Smith's and also at Sam's Club.  You can also buy it on Amazon.
The other ingredients are pretty common.
  • Instant Yeast -- I buy mine at Sam's Club
  • Honey - I buy mine at Sam's Club.  You can also substitute agave or sugar.
  • Vegetable Oil - Yep, I buy it at Sam's Club.
  • Whole Wheat Flour -- I use White Wheat Flour.  It makes the bread lighter in color, so my kids don't think of it as "brown bread".  I use a combination of store bought flour and flour that I've ground at home.  (I only buy flour because I don't have a wheat grinder...yet, so I don't have a lot of freshly ground flour to use).
  • Salt

Have I convinced you to try it yet?  If you're my local friend and want to try it, let me know and I'll give you a little bag of dough enhancer to use.

This is half of the original recipe.  It fits in my kitchenaid pretty well and makes 2 big loaves.  If you have a Bosch, double the recipe and make 5 loaves.   

I took step by step pictures to add to this post, but I guess they were on the camera card that my baby lost.  I'll take some soon and add them.

I wish I knew where the original recipe came from.  I got it from my friend, Angela, who got it from Brittany, who got it from someone else, etc.  Here's the recipe...



Light and Fluffy Whole Wheat Bread


Printable Recipe

Yield: 2 large loaves
Ingredients
  • 3.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 c. vital wheat gluten
  • 1.25 Tbsp. instant yeast
  • 2 1/2 c. warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 1/3 c. honey (or 1/2 c. sugar or 1/4 c. agave)
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1.5 Tbsp. dough enhancer
  • 2.5 c. whole wheat flour 

Directions:

1.  Mix together first 3 ingredients in Bosch with a dough hook. Add water all at once and mix on speed 1 for 30 seconds to 1 minute to incorporate all ingredients. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes (mixture will rise, should be about doubled in size).

2.  Add salt, oil, honey (or sugar or agave) and dough enhancer. Turn mixer on to speed 1 and add flour one half cup at a time, until dough starts to pull away from sides and bottom. Turn mixer up to speed 3 and mix for 10 minutes. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky.


3.  Preheat oven to 200°.   Turn dough out onto an oiled (water can be used, avoid using flour) countertop. Divide and shape into loaves. Place loaves into oiled bread pans. Place in preheated oven (TURN OVEN OFF).  Let the dough rise in the warm oven for 30 minutes or until dough reaches over the top of the pan.

4.  Turn oven up to 350° and bake for 25 minutes or until internal temperature of bread is 180°.
Remove from oven and cool on racks.

Jenny's Notes:
I either make two large loaves or one large loaf and three smaller loaves.  The smaller loaves bake for about 20 minutes.

After the bread is cooled, I slice it and bag it in ziploc bags (removing air from the bag with a straw). I freeze all the bread that we're not going to eat within two days.  It's much better from the freezer than it is on the counter three days later.   
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