Man I am on a roll!!
Err… should I say I am on a loaf…? Of bread….? No…? *crickets*
Don’t mind me.
I’m just here to share a really swell loaf of bread with you. This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful loaves of bread to grace my oven.
It has fairly simple ingredients and comes together easily. It turns from a shaggy mess to smooth and elastic in a matter of 8 minutes.
I’m going to go ahead and deem this ‘healthy’ because it’s 100% whole wheat. And if you switch out the veggie oil for olive oil, you’re getting some healthy fats in there as well. You can choose your sweetener and the dry milk is non-fat.
So go ahead and slather a slice with a heaping dollop of Nutella (or jam) and have it for breakfast. I do. Everyday. It’s my little slice of heaven, via my toaster : )
Before you start: you can put the first three ingredients in a 2 cup measuring cup, to save on dishes to clean.
Also, I would recommend kneading this bread by hand. It only takes 6-8 minutes and it can be quite a tranquil experience. Just be sure to flour or oil your counter.
100% Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yield: 1 loaf
1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/4 cup Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
*Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.
1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for “dough” or “manual.”) Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.
5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
*The liquid sweetener you choose makes a difference. Molasses produces the darkest loaf, one with old-fashioned flavor. Honey yields a lighter, milder loaf. Maple syrup makes a less-sweet loaf — unless you use real maple syrup, in which case it’ll be similar to a loaf made with honey, albeit with a faint hint of maple.
*If you’re someone who tends to taste whole wheat as somewhat bitter, try substituting 1/4 cup of orange juice for 1/4 cup of the water in this recipe. A bit of orange juice tones down whole wheat’s somewhat tannic taste.