Learning to make bread from scratch is kinda hard, ya’ll. The good news is that with a little practice, and a little research it’s entirely possible to make great whole wheat bread!
The first time I made bread, I used the “Water Bread” recipe from the Fannie Farmer cookbook. However, I wanted to use whole wheat flour instead of white baking flour, and it was a sad little loaf of bread, indeed. Very heavy, and sort of sunken in the middle. I tried to eat it, I really did, but it was like chewing dough. Clearly, allowances needed to made for the whole wheat.
A little research yielded some information about the wonders of “Vital Gluten” which needs to be added to whole wheat breads because whole wheat flour lacks enough gluten to rise properly. Alrighty, then; Vital Gluten it is! This helped quite a lot; the second attempt rose above the edge of the pans (yay!) and wasn’t quite as heavy. At least it was edible this time, but still not what I was shooting for. I wanted amazing homemade bread.
Determined to try again, I ran down to Natural Grocers for more flour, and in the baking aisle I noticed a little jar of “Dough Enhancer.” Well, my dough could use some enhancing, so I bought it. For attempt number three, I used the Dough Enhancer, increased the honey, added butter, replaced half the water with milk, and upped the amount of Vital Gluten in the mix. Bingo.
The loaves doubled in height! They are soft. They are moist. And they taste oh-so-yummy! We had family over, and they polished off both loaves! I think I’ve found the perfect bread recipe!
So, without further ado, here is my “Perfect” bread recipe:
Perfect Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
- 2.5 cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 cup White Flour
- 1/2 cup Vital Gluten
- 4 tsp Yeast
- 1.5 cups Warm Water 120 degrees
- 1 cup Milk room temp
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 tbsp dough enhancer
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- Mix first four ingredients in a bowl. Add water and mix until blended and wet. Cover with a towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes
- Add milk, butter, salt, honey, and dough conditioner. Add remaining flour, working it in a little at a time. Once dough is pulling from sides, turn onto floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until dough feels elastic and silky, and no longer sticky.
- Turn oven to warm (170) for 5 minutes, then turn off. Line two loaf pans with parchment paper, folding corners to smooth. Divide the dough and gently shape into loaves and place in the pan.
- Put pans on center rack of the oven for 40 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size. Leave in the oven and turn oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove loaves from oven and brush top of loaves with butter for a soft crust.