Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Whole Wheat Bread
I'm pretty sure that there is not a more homey scent than that of fresh yeast bread dough rising then baking in the oven. I always love baking homemade bread just to enjoy the aroma that fills my kitchen.
I've come to understand that sometimes I can tweak a yeast recipe; now, hear me carefully, I don't tweak it too much. Yeast is sensitive--if the liquid is too hot, it gets killed. If the liquid is too cool, it doesn't activate it properly and you will end up with hard, flat bread. I have had a bread machine for a long time, and for so long I would just dump the necessary ingredients in that and let it go. (Of course, I did the ingredients in order and followed the directions). But you know how hard the crust is of bread machine bread? Yeah. I don't like that so much. So, here's where the tweaking comes in.
I decided one time that I would use the bread machine recipe, but set it on the dough cycle, then do the second rise in the oven and bake it in a regular loaf pan. Genius, right? (You're probably thinking I should have thought of this idea a long time ago!) Well, it worked splendidly! I love that I don't have to mix the dough up or do the work of letting the dough proof. The bread machine does it for me! Ninety minutes later, it is ready to plop in a loaf pan, let rise again for about 30 minutes in a warm oven, then bake! I love it!
Ready to give it a try? And you can definitely do this sans the bread machine; you just have to do the mixing and kneading by hand. I didn't include all the instructions for that, though. I would need to Google it.
Whole Wheat Bread
Source: Better Homes and Gardens Best Bread Machine Recipes
Yields 1 1-1/2 pound loaf (approximately 16 slices)
1 cup milk, 110 degrees
3 tbl. water, 110 degrees
*(just mix the two together, then heat slowly and carefully in the microwave, using a thermometer)
4 tsp. honey or sugar
1 tbl. butter, softened
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. bread machine yeast
In the pan of your bread machine, layer the ingredients in the order listed. Before adding the yeast, make a small well in the flour then add the yeast to the well (I think this step helps incorporate the yeast better).
Set your bread machine to the Dough cycle.
Walk away. :) Let the machine work for you!
When the cycle is done, turn out the dough onto a flat, dry surface and give it a couple of kneads to smooth it out and shape it. Place dough in a lightly oiled bread pan and cover with a light towel.
Place covered pan in a warm oven (I heat my oven to 170 degrees, then off the heat. This is the perfect temperature for the second rise). When dough has doubled in size and fills the bread pan (your vision will tell you when this looks right), remove pan and place in a closed space (I used my microwave) to keep it warm and soft while your oven preheats.
Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes. Bread should be firm and sound hollow when you tap the top.