I love to bake bread. I love the whole process from proofing the yeast to kneading the dough. I love the way it makes my house smell. I love being able to eat something that is fresh and homemade, where I know exactly what is in it.
I grew up with my mom making bread and cinnamon rolls using a recipe passed down from my great-grandmother. Let me tell you there is nothing better than fresh, hot bread right out of the oven, and let’s not even talk about the cinnamon rolls! YUM!
As much as I love our family recipe and how it makes me feel connected to the women who have passed it down through the generations, I have been looking for a wheat recipe that would make just a loaf.
I recently found a recipe on one of my favorite recipe sites: allrecipes.com. It was called Good 100% Whole Wheat Bread. I read through some of the reviews and then altered the recipe a bit.
Here is my recipe: (*Update* Next time I will add more salt and maybe a bit more honey. I liked it overall but it needed a little more flavor.)
Whole Wheat Bread
3/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt (Try increasing to 2 tsp)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Honey (Try increasing to 2 tbsp)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons Active Dry Yeast
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
(Extra flour to dust counter for kneading bread)
Mix the water, milk, salt, honey and oil in a large microwave safe bowl and heat it until warm. Do not boil. I don’t use a thermometer to determine the right temperature. I use my mom’s method. You put the tip of your pinky finger in the liquid.It should be very warm to the touch but not so hot that it burns your finger. If you do get it too hot let it cool off a bit before adding the yeast.
Stir the liquid to make sure the honey is mixed in and then sprinkle the yeast to the top of the liquid and walk away for a few minutes. You have to give the yeast time to start working. Now you can stir up the liquid and add the 3 cups of flour. Stir it until it starts to come together and then dump it out onto a floured surface to knead. Knead it about 10-15 times or until it is no longer sticky.
Put the dough ball into a bowl and cover.
(I sprayed cooking spray on the top of my dough and then loosely put a piece of plastic wrap over it. I took a large Tupperware container and lined it with my electric heating pad. I turned the pad on and placed my smaller bowl with the bread dough in it on top of the heating pad. Then I covered the top with another large bowl to keep the heat in. It is cold here today and I know it would take forever for the bread to raise if it didn’t have some extra heat. This is the first time I have tried this method and I think it worked great. If you have a warm sunny place to let your bread raise you can skip this method. You just want to make sure it will be warm so the yeast can do it’s job.)
After the dough has doubled in size you want to knead it again about 10 -12 times. Put it back in the bowl to raise one more time. When it has doubled again take it out of the bowl and shape it into a loaf and put into a greased loaf pan. Let it raise one more time. When it has raised nicely in the pan to about double the original size bake it in an oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Baking bread from scratch is very rewarding. Once you have made a few batches you will get to know what the dough should look like and how it should feel when you are working with it.
Have fun baking your own bread and don’t forget to enjoy a slice hot out of the oven.