I took a bread class from my daughter who was in town this week. I have had this recipe and have made this bread several times but my bread would never turn out like hers did. When I would go to visit her I would eat her delicious bread and could not figure out why my bread did not turn out like hers. So, I had her watch everything that I did and tell me what I was doing wrong. I learned some tricks and figured out what her secrets were.
The bread turned out great so, I have written the recipe with all of the secrets and took pictures of most of the steps along the way. Here is the recipe:
Favorite Wheat Bread recipe
Add the following in this order:
4 cups hot water
1/3 cup of oil
2/3 cup of honey or sugar but honey is very good
2 ½ tsp. salt
¾ cup dry milk
1/3 cup of lecithin (this is a preservative and is great when you don’t eat your loaf very fast, the recipe is still good without it.)
2/3 cup of gluten flour (you won’t need this if you are using bread flour)
8 cups of whole wheat flour
Mix all of these together well
After it is all mixed let it sit for 15 minutes with towel over bowl. I use a Kitchen aid mixer so after this part change your hook to a bread hook.
In a bowl add ½ cup of warm, hot water
1 ½ tsp of quick yeast, if it is not quick yeast wait until carbon dioxide bubbles are forming all over top of liquid
Add this to your bread mixture
Then add 2 cups of bread flour
Mix well and then start testing for moisture level.
Depending on the day the dough may be have varying degrees of moisture level i.e. if it is a stormy or a sunny day.
You check the moisture level by inserting your finger into dough; it is just the right level when you have a little ring of dough with a dry small circle in the middle. You adjust the moisture level by adding more water or flour ( this will not affect the taste but will make all the difference in the way your bread turns out.
When you get the moisture level right knead the bread for 3-4 minutes in your mixer with the dough hook. Kneading it for the right amount of time develops the gluten strands and will make the difference in soft chewy bread instead of dry crumbly wheat bread.
You then take the bread out of the mixing bowl and place on a sprayed grease counter; you do not want to put it on a floured counter because you finally have the moisture level.
You knead it into a smooth ball and then carefully lift the ball and place into a large greased glass bowl. (This will make the difference in having bread with a smooth top.
Let this rise in bowl until it doubles in size. If it is a cold day you can proof your dough in the oven. You do this by warming your oven to about 100 degrees.
When it has doubled in size you carefully put dough on greased counter and divide into 4 equal parts. To get this just right it is great to have a scale and then your loaves will be exactly the same.
You then knead the 4 equal parts into loaves by bringing the dough into the center into a rectangle shape. Just knead into the center to get rid of the air bubbles. You won’t knead very long this will make the dough tough.
Place dough into greased loaf pans.
Let rise for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Make a slit in the top of the bread with a sharp bread knife.
Immediately place into a 370 to 375 degree oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes.
Pull out of oven when finished and let sit in pan for several minutes, then slip bread from pans and place on cooling rack. Wait to cool before cutting bread and if you can’t wait just dive in and eat it.
This is when you pour the bread onto the greased counter
Now shaping it into a smooth ball, this is what makes the smooth top on the bread.Place it into a greased bowl.This is after it has risen and doubled in size.Divide it into 4 equal parts.Knead it into 4 rectangles shaped ballsPlace into four loaf pans.After it has doubled in size make a small slit into the top of the bread, this is to prevent it from splitting at the sides.Bake for 25-30 minutes at 370 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes.
Brush with butter to make the crust soft and then eat this delicious, healthy wheat bread and share with those you love most!