Some people have asked me how I started my weight loss. My first few months in the blog archive explain it all.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Here it is! My favorite way to use the "staff of life"!

The first measurement before each dash is for a Large Batch, Second is Medium, Third is small. DO NOT USE ALL THREE AND THEN BLAME ME (lol!)

14-16/ 10-12 / 6-7- cups whole wheat flour
3 T- 2 T - 1 T - dry yeast
1/2 cup – 1/3 cup - 1/4 cup - gluten flour
6 cups - 4 cups - 2 cups - warm water
1/2 cup – 1/3 cup – 1/4 cup - Applesauce or vegetable oil
1 cup – 2/3 cup –1/4 cup - honey
1 ½ T – 1 T – 2 t – salt

Place 9, 6 or 3 cups fresh flour (depending on desired batch size) into mixer equipped with dough hook. Add dry yeast and gluten flour. Pulse to mix well. Add water, and mix for 1 minute. Turn off mixer, cover bowl, and let dough sponge for 10 - 15 minutes. (Sponging makes lighter bread and reduces kneading time). Add applesauce (or oil) honey, and salt. Turn on mixer, and quickly add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough forms a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. The amount of flour needed may vary. Knead 7 to 10 minutes (by hand 12-15 minutes) or until dough is smooth and elastic. Let rise in bowl about 10 -15 minutes (this can be skipped if in a rush but makes the dough easier to form into loaves and makes bread a bit lighter). Place in lightly oiled pans and cover with a dish towel. Let rise until double. Bake in 350 degree oven for 28 – 35 minutes

Large batch makes: 5-6 - 4”x8 ½” loaves or 8-9 3”x5 ¾” loaves
Medium batch makes: 4 - 4x8” ½ loaves or 6-7 3”x5 ¾”loaves
Small batch makes: 2 - 4”x8 ½”loaves or 3-4 3”x5 ¾” loaves

These are things I have learned from experience and/or the “Set for Life” book by Jane P. Merrill and Karen M. Sunderland:

Remember to use fresh ground wheat; mill it yourself, or buy from refrigerator in health food stores, last resort use flour from store, but know it’s not as good as the fresh.

I use applesauce to make this bread fat free. If I run out of applesauce I use oil, it tastes just as good.

I like bread to be soft and I love the taste of “honey whole wheat” so I use 1 cup honey, sometimes I use ¾ honey and ¼ molasses, which makes bread dark and rich. I have a friend that reduces the honey to ½ cup and salt to 1 T for less sugar and low sodium and still makes delicious bread.

I love using white wheat as it makes lighter bread, which my kids love, but hard red wheat has more protein per grain and contains more gluten. I try to mix red and white wheat ½ and ½ and find a good compromise. My husband loves darker bread so when I use molasses and all red wheat he is in heaven.

Bread takes about 2 – 2 1/2 hours to make, I usually start the process when I get home from running, about 6:30 a.m. and can take a shower during the first proof, and dress during the kneading time. While bread rises in pans I can get breakfast on the table and get the kids out the door. Then I put the bread in the oven, put on my lipstick and take it out by 9:00 am …‘Cause I’m a Woooooman’….

Oil your hands and work surface, (if you use flour the bread gets dry), I use spray oil.

The Set –For – Life book has suggestions that they say will improve bread texture:
Add 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt in place of 1 cup of the water
Add approximately 500 mg of vitamin C with your flour
Add 2 T lemon juice instead of Vitamin C
Add 2 T dry or liquid lecithin to the dough
Replace 1 to 3 cups whole wheat flour with white flour.
I have never tried any of these except for the lemon juice (which I couldn’t tell much of a difference) because I don’t ever have any of those things on hand. But experiment and see what works for you.

I have occasionally added 2 cups white flour in place of 1½ cup wheat flour and ½ cup gluten if I am out of gluten or don’t want to spend the money. (Gluten is pricey; I get it in the health food section at my grocery store with the “Bobs Red Mill products but I have seen it in health food stores as well)

Don’t use large bread pans, Whole wheat dough is heavy and can’t support itself in a wide pan. I love medium pans which are 4”x8 ½”, but I know people who love smaller pans. My family would feel put out with smaller sandwiches (especially my 11 and 13 year old boys)

Oven temperatures vary; my oven bakes the loaves in 28 minutes, but when I baked in Canada at my MIL’s it took 35 minutes. Ovens vary, and I think maybe altitude has something to do with it too. I am almost at sea level and she lives on the high plains. Look for loaves to be golden brown, and make a hollow sound when thumped.

My sister taught me to preheat oven to 400 degrees, let bread rise till double - place bread in the oven and then immediately turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Then bake for 35-40 minutes. I have forgotten to turn the oven down too many times and have toasted too many batches to count, but I did like the way the bread turned out when I got it right. I just can’t trust my feeble brain to remember (remember Dory?) If you trust yourself – go for it. It is supposed to kill the yeast to keep bread from rising too high and keep it more dense and soft. 350 degrees for 28 minutes works great for me.

Last, to keep the crust soft (my kids favorite) keep a spray bottle on hand. When you remove bread from the oven place it on cooling racks, mist it lightly and cover with dish towels. You can also cool bread under damp dish towels.

Experiment, have fun! Make it your own. I have really learned to love baking. I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I see homemade bread on the counter. This dough makes great monkey bread, rolls and cinnamon rolls. I use the bread for French toast, bread pudding (when it gets stale) sandwiches (tuna and a glass of milk – yum!!) or I put on spaghetti sauce, favorite toppings, a little cheese, bake and make a yummy mini-pizzas, in the morning I break it up in a bowl, slice a banana, put cinnamon and sugar on top and pour milk on it. It makes a filling breakfast when I don’t have time to make whole grain cereal. I love it! Get creative, tweak the recipe and make it your own, just learn to use the “staff of life” as your main fuel. Good luck! I hope to see many positive testimonials to your weekend of baking in the comment section!


General Wolfe said...

This is the best bread in the world. I love it. Way to go Calamity

Kimberly said...

I am printing this post and giving it a place of honour in my recipe collection! Thank you!

Amy said...

Yep! This is the recipe I love too! Here is another request. I would love to know how you make your whole grain cereal. Breakfast and lunch are hard for me! I have a hard time thinking of good meals. Especially lunch. I think I am making it harder than it needs to be... :)

Calamity Jane said...

Hi Amy, this recipe is a bit different from the set for life one in that it calls for 1 cup of honey instead of 1/2 and applesauce instead of oil. I am glad you like it. Both ways are great!
The easiest way for me to make whole wheat cereal is to buy the Bob's red mill cereals. I love steel cut oats and the 10 grain mix. I cook it according to package directions. I can buy cracked wheat in bulk at a local grocery store, and so I cook that like I do rice. 3 parts cracked wheat, 4 parts water. I bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes. My favorite thing to do is make the whole package, and keep the extra in the fridge. It stores well, and saves time on crazy mornings. My hubby "general Wolfe, makes his at work in the microwave. I will see if I can get him to post how he does that. For lunch I sometimes make a huge pot of tomato based vegatable and bean soup. I keep it stored in the fridge too, sometimes in small containers in the freezer. It makes a great lunch - especially when I am in a hurry, which is almost always. Leftovers from a healthy dinner (I always make lots) go great in jam containers. We pop them in the freezer and have personal "lean cuisines"

General Wolfe said...

I really love the five grain rolled cereal from Bobs Red Mill. I just heat up the water in a tupperware container (like about 2 cups) for 3 minutes. Then I pour in the cereal so that the water and the cereal are the same depth.

I put a lid on it and wait 15 minutes or so while I am working. If there is excess water I just zap it for 30 to 45 seconds and then it is ready to consume.

I actually prefer to cover it with yogurt like the 60 cent container size. I mix it all up and chow down.

mindyluwho said...

I've never been an oatmeal fan until I tried Bob's Scottish Oatmeal, it's the best.

The bread recipe looks yummy, I can't wait to try it!

Rebecca said...

I make whole wheat bread all the time too!

One question for you: When you say "gluten flour" do you mean regular hi-gluten flour (which is white but really cheap at Sams, I use it to make seitan) or vital wheat gluten flour?

Carrot Jello said...

I preheat my oven to 170, and when I put my bread in to rise, I turn the oven off.
I never thought of turning the tempurature higher to rise.

Carrot Jello said...

They have gluten flour in the bulk section at Wuh wuh wuh wuh WinCo.

Natalie said...

I'm excited to try it! I've actually never made bread before. But I love fresh homemade bread I've gotten from others.

mindyluwho said...

Off topic, but in line with your focus...I have my shoes, socks, shirt and pants laid out for tomorrow! I'm going run...well, walking with an attempt at running a quarter of a mile! Wish me luck!

Calamity Jane said...

Rebecca, it is vital wheat gluten flour that I use, I don't know if there is a difference. . ., sorry
What is seitan???

Mindyluwho, YEA! Good for you!!

Heffalump said...

I have been looking for a good wheat bread recipe. I want you to know that I went and got gluten flour for this (I have never used it before). WOW! $5.99 for just over a pound! Luckily they also had it in the bulk section and it was only $2.39 a pound there. I am going to make some this week. Thanks!

Rebecca said...

Vital wheat gluten flour is different than gluten flour in that vital wheat gluten flour is pure wheat gluten. It has been extracted from flour and sold as pure wheat gluten.

What is known as "gluten flour" is high-gluten flour, or bread flour. It's white flour that has extra gluten added to it so that it's good for making white bread, rolls, etc. Of course, it's not good for you!

Seitan is something that the chinese came up with eons ago. If you've ever had mock duck, chicken, etc it's made from wheat gluten. You can make it from vital wheat gluten flour, but I think it tastes better when you make your own. You can use whole grain or white flour to make it, that doesn't matter.

Basically you make a dough with flour and water (I do small batches in my food processor and combine them in the end), then let the ball soak for at least an hour in water to develop the gluten further. Then you rinse out all the starch under water until you're left with the gluten. You can flavor it in many ways, then you cook it at low heat. When it's cooked it's called "seitan". Very high in protein, as that's what gluten is. The texture is reminiscent of meat.

Hope I explained it ok!

Michelle said...

I have been the fortunate recipient of several batches of this delicious bread! One time, I prepared a slice of bread and butter for my son with the still warm gift. When I told him who is was from he said "Oh mama, I love her".

That's good bread! LOL!!

Natalie said...

I made this today and it is sooooo good!

umtu mom said...

I just returned from a vacation in France where I re-discovered my love for bread, after 4 years of low-carb living. I am working out a diet plan to lower my cholesterol and I am including many complex carbohydrates, including whole grain breads. Yum! I have tried a few recipes so far, and am about to attempt your recipe. What I would like to know is if you have calculated out the nutritional information for this recipe. Whole wheat breads seem to have a huge variation in nutritional value, many of which don't appear to be any healthier than the white stuff you can buy in the stores.