I thought I’d start my series on bread making with my everyday, homemade whole wheat bread recipe. I had to laugh one day while I was perusing my Twitter feed because someone posted a quick plea for help with making bread when they only had whole wheat flour on hand. Well, my bread has NO, (did you read that?) No white flour in it and it is plenty airy and soft.
The Secret to Soft Whole Wheat Bread
The secret to my bread is twofold. First, we mill our flour immediately before mixing up the dough. If you don’t have a grain mill, see my prior post on a grain mill comparison. Second, we add 3 tablespoons of soy lecithin to the dough. The soy lecithin is a dough enhancer that makes a softer crumb and lighter loaf. Honey and egg also act as dough conditioners, but the lecithin makes a world of difference. We buy soy lecithin in bulk from our local discount grocery and store it in the freezer. It will go rancid if not stored properly, or for too long. You can tell if it’s fresh by smelling. We learned this the hard way one day when opening the jar produced the distinct odor of fish .
This will make two regular-sized loaves of bread or 2 dozen rolls.
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1 T yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast)
Mix gently then add:
- 4 cups flour
- 1 T salt
- 3 T lecithin
- 2 T ground golden flax seed
- 1 egg
- 2 T honey
- 2 T olive oil
Mix in Bosch Universal Mixer on high adding up to 2 cups of additional flour while timing for 6 minutes of kneading time. After about 1 minute I like to scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix. You can tell it is ready when a blob of dough will stretch thin like a balloon without tearing.
After kneading, remove the dough from the mixer bowl and put in a large greased bowl to rise. I simply set it in my oven with the light on. That bulb seems to give out the perfect amount of warmth. I set my timer for 1 hour so I don’t forget it and end up with a mess.
After the first rise, divide the dough and place into two greased, glass loaf pans. (I no longer use aluminum cookware.) I then set them back into the oven to rise, this time for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to set your timer.
When the timer goes off, I simply turn on the oven to 350 degrees. I know “the experts” say not to keep your dough in the oven while it is pre-heating, but this is what works for me. I set my timer again for 35 minutes. When the timer goes off this time, I check the sides for brown-ness (a positive for the clear glass) as if your sides are under-done, the loaf will collapse. I will rotate the pans and bake a little longer if necessary.
When done, remove the loaves to a wire rack to cool. Rub a hard stick of butter on the top while still warm for a beautiful loaf.
That’s about it. Since M. has been working, the responsibility of baking our daily bread has returned to me. I have the best of luck without doubling the recipe so I find myself baking bread almost every day! For that reason, we are reading Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg, MD, and Zoe Francois. I was able to hear these two speak at the Mother Earth News Fair last September and their techniques intrigued me. If we are successful with what they teach, I will cover that in a future post.
Also, if you have any questions on bread baking, please ask them in the comments and I will try to answer them in a future post, as well.
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