There is nothing like a house filled with the aroma of fresh baked bread and no healthier bread than homemade, preservative free, whole wheat bread.
When my kids were young, I made bread every week. I got out of the habit of making it, and when I went to make a loaf of bread again, I was struck at how complicated the directions were. It’s really just adding active yeast to water, mixing in the flour and salt, and letting it rise a few times. So I thought I would share this simple method. Once you have a successful loaf, you can start playing with the timing and ingredients.
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 6 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- Dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Add the honey and oil to the 2 1/4 cups water and mix until honey is dissolved. Add the flour and salt to a food processor and mix for a few seconds. Then add both liquids: the yeast/water mixture and the honey/oil/water mixture to the flour. Run the food processor for a minute. Pour contents onto the counter and knead the dough for 5 minutes (hand kneading is optional).
- Place the dough in a bowl, cover it with a towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm area for a few hours until double, 1 to 2 (or more hours, as your time permits. The warmer the area, the quicker the rise, but slow rise yields better bread.) If you stick your finger in the dough and it retains the shape of your finger, the rise is complete.*
- Gently deflate the dough. Form it into a ball again and put it back in the bowl to rise again. The second rise will happen faster...about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
- Deflate the dough. Cut the dough in half and roll each piece into a round or oblong ball. Place the each piece of dough in a greased 8" x 4" bread pan (the kind of pans you make banana bread in). Cover and let rise until the dough arches over the top of the pans.
- Cook the bread in preheated 425 degree oven for ten minutes. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees and cook for another 45 minutes or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when you tap on it with a butter knife.
- *You can also let the dough rise slowly in the refrigerator, overnight, Bring it back to room temperature and proceed with Second Rise.