Even though the hot, humid Minnesota summer has arrived a bit early it is still time to make bread. The past couple of days have seen all the shades drawn and children lounging around the house in diapers, shorts and tank tops. I hadn’t even replaced the winter clothes in their drawers yet! So now I am scrambling to find all those summer clothes i packed away nearly 8 months ago.
The warm weather finds me craving salads–with lots of dressing, but heh I need the calories right? Last night I boiled a bunch of eggs intending to make egg salad sandwiches but then discovered that my bread was all dry and crusty. Luckily it stormed last night so there is a bit of a break in the weather and I am trying to get the bread in the oven before the heat really comes on.
My grandmother always made homemade bread. For me it was a huge treat eating bread warm from the oven with melted butter. I never expected that I would be a bread making mama, but with the price of good quality bread at around $4.00 a loaf I decided I had to try it. Here is my favorite recipe. it is 100% whole wheat but nice and light. The trick is a long kneading period–15 minutes. I used to do this by hand. I actually set the timer on the stove and would knead away (15 minutes is a long time). I had great forearms, but not much enthusiasm for bread making days. Then Proeun bought me a Kitchen-aide and now bread making is a snap. Whether you are doing it by hand or with a mixer the taste is totally worth it.
Our Favorite Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups hot water
1/3 cup olive oil (I use soy or vegetable oil for price sake)
1/3 cup honey
8-10 cups fresh ground whole wheat flour
1 TBSP salt
3 TBSP gluten flour
2 TBSP yeast
Mix hot water, oil, and honey with about 3 cups of the flour. Stir well. Add the yeast, salt and gluten and continue stirring. Slowly add remaining flour, stirring until you have a small amount of resistance: it is important that you do not add too much flour at this point as it will make your bread heavy.
Sprinkle a small amount of flour out onto a dry surface. Pour dought onto flour and being to knead you bread, adding remaining flour as you find it neccessary to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Knead dough for at least 15 minutes. The longer you knead your dough, the better the bread will be.
Place dough back in a large bowl. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise in a warm oven for 20 minutes. Pour dough onto dry surface and once again knead for at least 3 minutes. Form into loaves and place in well oiled bread pans. This recipe will make 2-3 loaves. Allow loaves to rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. Put on racks to cool.
It you have a mixer you can do all the steps up to placing in loaf pans with that.
From the Best of Veggies by Mary Bernt