Lion Test Kitchen: Mastering the Whole Wheat Bread

It took me three years, but I've got this whole wheat bread thing down. Most could learn this skill in about three days, mind you. But those three years built character. And taught me patience. And charity.

Basically, I am who I am today due to those three years of sunken in, rock hard bread.

Luckily, I will share with you what works for me, in great detail to avoid a journey like mine, so stop reading if you want to build some Christlike characteristics.

Before we get started, I've got to tell you that you really need a Bosch if you're going to get into the bread making business. I have both - a Kitchenaid and a Bosch (my Bosch is a hand-me-down from my mom who's had it since her wedding day and it still works like an ox) and I use my Kitchenaid for basically everything except bread.

So buy a Bosch.

From eBay or Craigslist. Don't buy a new one. These things run for centuries.

Second, I only believe in making whole wheat bread if you use freshly ground wheat. It makes all the difference. I know wheat grinders are pricey, but it's worth it if you want to be serious. Or buy a hand grinder and burn some calories.

I make Shane grind my wheat. I can't be bothered with another step.

And thirdly, this bread takes like an hour from start to finish, I'm not even slightly kidding. So there are really no excuses. Here goes...

adapted from many recipes, and trial and error

Makes 4 loaves (I suppose you could use a Kitchenaid and half it to make 2 loaves, but why?)

7 C whole RED wheat flour (the RED makes a big difference, so buy the red wheat)
2/3 C gluten
2 1/2 T SAF yeast (don't ignore details)

5 C hot water (a little hotter than your kid's bathwater)

2 T kosher salt
2/3 C oil
1 C sugar (you can use 2/3 C honey, but I honestly like the sugar better)
2 1/2 T bottled lemon juice

4 1/2 C whole wheat RED flour

(about 11.5 cups of flour total)

Mix the first three ingredients in your Bosch with the dough mixer for 20 seconds. Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes.

Add salt, oil, sugar and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, one cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for 7-9 minutes, watching for when the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You may not need all the flour, so be watchful. The dough will be very soft and will stick to your hands, but should pull away from the sides with ease.

Pre-heat oven for 2 minutes to lukewarm and turn off. Turn dough onto oiled counter top; divide, shape into loaves and place in oiled bread pans. Let rise in warm oven for 15 minutes (set the timer) or until dough reaches the top of the pan. Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 F and set the timer for 35 minutes.

Once timer rings, check the dough to make sure it's nice and golden brown on the top. Undercooked bread is the worst!

Remove from pans and rub those suckers down with some amish butter.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, I would love to try this, but seeing that I have to mix my dough by hand, I don't see it happening. =) When I get a mixer out.