I have been making our family's bread for almost two years now. Hard to believe. It all started because I wanted a whole grain loaf that used no HFCS and I was tired of paying $4 for it. I started in May 2009 using a bread machine and tweaked until I had a really great loaf of bread. But then about six months ago my trusty bread maker died. I had read time and again that the best loaves are made by hand but until that point had resisted trying it out. The bread maker was just so easy. ;) After my machine quit I began researching new options; once I saw that the ones I wanted were in the $200 + range I quickly decided that it would be me and the trusty Kitchen Aid stand mixer for a test run!
Wow! Same recipe, same ingredients but so much better!!! I could not believe it. Dh could not believe it. Truly amazing. And the best part is that using the Kitchen Aid with the dough hook to do most of the mixing/kneading means that it hardly takes me any more time to make this loaf than it did in my bread maker. If you don't have a stand mixer you will just need to knead by hand for about 15 minutes or so. Whole wheat loaves take longer than white loaves. Another bonus of kneading by hand is that it's a great arm workout and incredibly therapeutic as you pound away all your frustrations on the dough rather than on those around you! ;)
I have also changed away from my original recipe which used milk. I have one little guy who cannot tolerate dairy well so we replaced the milk with water about a year ago. In addition, this is a large loaf so you will need a 10 inch bread pan. I am currently looking to replace all my aluminum cookware with stainless or stone bakeware and haven't been able to find a 10 inch bread pan in either. If any of you readers know know of a place, please pass it along. I can find the 9 inch in abundance but not the 10.
100% Whole Grain Bread
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or any mild tasting vegetable oil)
- 4 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp molasses
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup oat flour (made by grinding rolled oats in my blender or food processor)
- 1/4 cup gluten
- 2 tsp yeast (active dry)
- Measure all wet ingredients (first 5 listed) in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, reserving a tablespoon or so to bloom yeast in small bowl.
- Add yeast to reserved warm liquid. I never check the water temp anymore as I know what is just about right by touch but most websites will say between 110 and 115. Hotter than that will kill your yeast.
- I premix all my dry ingredients (excluding yeast) every month or so like at the bottom of this post. If you use my method, dump all dry ingredients in the mixer on top of wet and turn mixer on low. If not, measure all dry ingredients and add to mixer, then turn it on low for 2 or 3 minutes.
- After the yeast has started to bloom add it to the mixer.
- Keep machine running on low speed for about 8-10 minutes.
- Empty contents of mixer onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand another 4-6 minutes. Add flour as needed so dough doesn't stick to your hands or the counter.
- Form dough into an oval about the same length as your 10 inch bread pan.
- Place loaf into a well greased pan.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place away from drafts. For me this is in on my dryer if it's running or on top of my stove, if not.
- Let rise until loaf is about an inch to an inch and a half above the pan. This usually takes a few hours in my house in winter. Shorter in summer.
- Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes covering the last 10 minutes lightly with a piece of foil to keep from over browning. Most websites will say cook until bread reaches an internal temperature of 200 - 205 degrees but I have found that at 190 I can pull my loaf out and let it continue to sit in the pan for 5 minutes before turning it out to cool and it's perfect. Every pan is different. Every oven is different. You will just need to play around and find what works for you.
- You just must eat a hot piece with some butter and a bit of honey. Please do! :)