Whole Wheat Bread

This recipe is adapted from one in Cooking with Mona – a collection of recipes from Mona Brun, who represented the Western Canadian department store, Woodward’s, on culinary TV shows. I highly recommend the book, full of old favourites and more adventurous efforts but all written in a friendly and straight-forward manner. Bread can be finicky but this is as close to a goof-proof recipe as I have found. One tip: use organic flours if you can find them, as they taste much better and will provide you with more nutrients than heavily processed flours.

bread-freshly-made

MAKES 2 LOAVES (freezes well once baked)

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (about 110F / 43C)

2-1/2 cups hot water

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp salt

1/4 cup shortening or vegetable oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup buckwheat flour (or you can add 1 more cup whole wheat flour)

5 cups sifted all-purpose white flour

Soften yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water.

Combine 2-1/2 cups hot water with sugar, salt and shortening, and let cool to lukewarm.  Stir in whole wheat flour and 1 cup white flour; beat well. Stir in softened yeast. St this point if you have a large mixer, transfer the dough to the mixer bowl for easier mixing. Add 3-1/2 cups white flour, 1/2 cup at a time, with mixer on slow. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead using remaining 1/2 cup flour until it is smooth and satiny (about 10 minutes or so).

bread-rising

Place dough in greased bowl (I use about a tablespoon of olive oil). Turn to grease top surface, and cover. Set aside in a warm spot to double in bulk (about 1-1/2 hours.)

Punch down dough and cut into 2 equal portions. Shape each into a ball and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare loaf pans if using, or a large baking sheet for “boules” (ball-shaped loaves).

  • For a loaf pan-loaf, shape by rolling ball into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll up jelly roll fashion, narrow end first, tucking the ends in as you roll. Place in greased loaf pan seam side down and let rise until double in bulk (about 1-1/4 hours).
  • For a “boule” knead ball slightly and turn bottom edges under, creating a smooth ball. Place on a greased baking sheet, and set aside, covered, to rise as for a loaf.

Preheat oven to 375F /190C. Score tops of loaves using a sharp blade (don’t be a wimp like me – you need to score about 1/2 inch deep to get that bakery-style mark!) Bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until dough sounds hollow when tapped. Cover loosely with foil for last 20 minutes if necessary to prevent over-browning (I do this with my oven.) Remove bread from pans and let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, store loaf in a plastic bag in cupboard or freezer.

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