Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
submitted by Erin ~ The Sisters Cafe
6 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil (or ¼ c. oil and ½ c. applesauce)
2/3 cup honey
8 cups freshly milled Whole Wheat Flour (more flour needed later)
2 Tbsp. Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbsp. Dough Enhancer
2-3 Tbsp. SAF instant yeast
8 additional cups freshly milled Whole Wheat Flour (original recipe says 4-8 cups)
2 Tbsp. salt
In the Bosch mixing bowl, combine water, oil, and honey. Next add 8 cups of freshly ground wheat flour. On top of the flour, add Vital Wheat Gluten, Dough Enhancer and SAF instant yeast. “Jog” on and off so that flour won’t rise out of the mixing bowl. Mix on Speed 1 until smooth. Sit for 10 minutes to sponge.
Add salt. Add 7 cups of additional freshly milled whole wheat flour, turn it on speed 2 to combine. If it is still wet then add additional 1 cup of flour. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl.
Turn your mixer to speed 2 and knead for about 7-10 minutes. Once you start kneading you shouldn't add any more flour. The dough should continue to clean the sides of the bowl. Check after 7 minutes by stretching a little bit in your oiled fingers; if holes develop, knead longer. If you can see through dough, but holes don’t develop, it is finished kneading.
Empty dough onto an oiled surface and cover dough with oil by flipping it on the counter. Shape dough into 5 loaves by folding under itself so the top is smooth. Place into oiled bread pans to rise. Cover lightly with a light cloth.
Rising time will be about 2-3 hours at room temperature.
When the loaves are fully risen, the dough should be above the pan about 1 ½ inches (depending on how much dough you made your loaf out of.) You should be able to put a small dent in the side of one of the loaves with your finger and the dent will not come back out, or it will come back very slowly.
Place loaves into a cool oven (not preheated). Bake at 350° for 35 minutes.
This recipe can be found online at sisterscafe.blogspot.com. Using the search function on the right side of the website, type in ‘Whole Wheat Bread’.
I nearly always make it with all wheat flour, but sometimes if I don't have quite enough flour, and I don't feel like grinding more, I will use mostly wheat flour and a few cups of white flour. I have also done half wheat and half white, which is pictured above.
I used to half this recipe when I was first married because I didn't think five loaves were necessary. But now I always make a full batch because after the bread has baked, I slice the extra loaves and put them in freezer bags and freeze them. I do that because I prefer fresh bread, and I don’t like to eat it after a few days. (Bread is always best the first day.) So we eat one loaf for a few days and then after that I remove slices of bread from the freezer whenever we want bread. When you defrost it in the microwave for a few seconds, it turns out soft and moist and delicious! (I haven't had the same great results from freezing an entire loaf unsliced.)
You can opt to make four loaves of bread and one pizza crust. Just put 1/5 (actually, a little less) of the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise with the loaves and then use it as a pizza crust. This dough can also be used for whole wheat cinnamon rolls. In which case, roll out the cinnamon rolls at the same time as you shape the other loaves and let rise.
When I grind my wheat I do enough for my next batch of bread. I use 16 cups that morning for a batch, and then I freeze the remaining flour. Then I don't have to grind wheat the next time I want to make whole wheat bread, muffins, pancakes or whatever. However, freshly milled flour decreases in nutritional value quickly. Freezing it helps slow the process, but even still, I would try to use it up in a month or so. You don't need to bring it to room temperature when you use it.