Whole Wheat Bread
Nothing smells better than fresh baked homemade bread. Moist and fragrant with a hint of spice, this one is easy enough for inexperienced bakers but worthy of an artisan shop.
Cooking and baking are therapeutic, especially in the cold, grey, and often wet times of the year when we find ourselves housebound. (Or when you;re under a “stay at home” order during a pandemic!) Besides, baking is good for your soul, and I’m convinced that bread is the original source of aroma therapy. This one, especially if you add some ground spices, is comfort food for body and spirit.
This recipe only requires about half an hour of active time. Of the three and half hours from pantry to cooling rack, a good three hours are taken up by the dough’s quietly rising while you are free to do other things.
You don’t have to be a master baker to do this. Follow the directions and think good thoughts. Or, as my mom used to do, use the time spent kneading the dough to work out your frustrations on something productive.
If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can let it do the mixing and kneading, but honestly, I think that removes half the fun…
If your oven has a “proof” setting use it! If not, just be sure to let the dough rise in a warm (not hot) draft-free place.
YOU CAN DO THIS!!
1 packet active dry yeast
2 cups warm water about 115°F
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt (less if you’re watching sodium intake)
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
1. In a large bowl, add the yeast to the warm water. Let sit up to five minutes.
2. Combine the melted butter, sugar and eggs. Beat lightly with a fork. Pour into yeast mixture
3. Mix the salt and flours in a large bowl. Add to the yeast/egg mixture. Don’t be timid about it. Just pour it in.
4. Using a fork, a spoon, or your own hands, stir to form a shaggy dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 6-8 minutes, adding more flour if needed to make a smooth, elastic dough.
5. Return dough to a greased bowl. Turn to coat all surfaces. Cover and let rise for 90 minutes.
6. Form into loaves** and place in lightly greased bread pans (9″x 4″). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
7. Turn out of pans and cool on rack. Makes to large loaves. Freezes well.
8. **To form loaves: Divide dough into two pieces. Flatten each into a 9″x6″ rectangle. Working from the short edge, roll dough into a snug cylinder. It will get longer as you roll. Pinch the edges (sides and bottom) together. Tuck ends under. Place in pan seam side down.
Yield: 2 large loaves
Preparation Time: 3 hours
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours and 25 minutes
Oven Temperature: 350°F
Serving size: 1/24 of a recipe (2.5 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.