I have been a bread making machine lately. I seem to be somewhat addicted to fresh, homemade bread, right out of the oven, slathered with butter. It is like the ultimate comfort food.
I have had people rave over my bread and while I’m still debating posting the recipe I thought I would share some of my tips and tricks. I use 100% whole wheat bread with honey and flax seed.
Most recipes call for 1 tablespoon of yeast, but because I use all whole wheat flour and have trouble getting the bread to rise nicely; I double the amount of yeast. The water you want warm, but not too warm. Use water between 90-110 degrees F. I usually just hold my hand in the stream of water until it starts to sting a little.
That is 2 tablespoons yeast, 2.5 cups whole wheat flour, and 2.5 cups of warm water. You will need to mix it well. Make sure there are no lumps of flour. The more you mix/stir the more the yeast mixes in and the more the yeast mixes in the more your bread rises.
You will need to cover (I use paper towels) and leave this mixture alone for 20 minutes. While you’re waiting, in a different bowl put 2 teaspoons salt, 3.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 cup flax seed, and 1/2 cup of honey. I use melted butter in place of oil and I grind the flax seeds.
When you have mixed it as much as you can in the bowl, turn out on to a lightly floured surface and need until it is no longer sticky. (Or knead for at least 5 minutes again the more you knead the more the yeast likes it.)
Next you will invert the bowl over the dough and let sit for 20 minutes.
While you’re waiting again, butter a large bowl and set aside. When the 20 minutes are up, knead dough for 5 minutes and put in large buttered bowl. Cover with saran wrap (and towel but that is optional).
You will let it rise for 90 minutes. It should at least double in size. During this time you can waste time on facebook, twitter, or playing games.
Next you turn it out onto a floured surface, I usually leave the flour on the counter until after this step. Divide in half. I use the dull side of a butter knife.
Place divided dough in two well buttered loaf pans and allow to rise for 45 minutes.
I failed to mention you will need to shape it into a loaf.
When it is done rising, bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. While baking, add ice cubes to bottom of oven or squirt with water. After 10 minutes, reduce the oven to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
Immediately remove from pans onto wire cooling rack and allow to cool.
All that is left is your enjoyment and pride in a job well done. You might want to not cut into it right away, allow it to cool a little before cutting.
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