Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hand Mixed Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Here is the easy and delicious recipe I promised. Now, if you are a homemade wheat bread connoisseur like Piper, you may find this bread a little crumbly, possibly a little dry. Piper prefers making her wheat bread with gluten. But again, if you find yourself starving and you have to make this, you'll think you're in heaven. I thought I was in heaven, but I don't generally make bread of any kind because it usually involves complicated things like kneading and rolling and measuring out into multiple loaves and such. Not this recipe. It makes 1 simple, delectable loaf. Here we go:

Soften in container in order:
1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. honey
1 T. yeast
(swirl in container together)

Piper & Em demonstrate this first step. A large canning jar works well for this because it bubbles and expands and such.
I'm not sure what discussion was going on here, but look how cute Piper's curtains are.

Whisk together in bowl in order:
1 cup warm water
2 T. oil
2 T. honey
1 rounded tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. lemon juice (we actually omitted this because I forgot to bring it ... maybe a happy accident?)
2 cups whole wheat flour (2 1/4 cups if freshly ground)
Look, so easy you can make homemade bread while holding the baby!
Here are all the ingredients before whisking.
Here is a great view of what happens to the stuff in the jars ... pretty cool.

Add yeast mixture (stuff in the jar) and beat with whisk until well blended.

Smells good!
Proper whisking technique (???)
Here's what it looks like.

Add up to 1 cup more flour and mix together by hand until well blended and all the flour is mixed in. It will form a sticky ball that holds its shape. You may add 1/2 cup more flour if it will not form a ball. Spray top with oil and let rest for 30 minutes.
Starting to mix by hand ...
Below are the "sticky balls that hold their shape." I think we used even more flour than it called for (freshly ground is much airier), but we discovered that it's better if it's not too stiff. If you form it into a ball and it doesn't move, that's a little too stiff. If you form it into a ball and it "melts" or "settles" very slightly, that's good. You can kinda tell in the picture below that the ball in the upper left is stiffer and holding it's shape really well, but the one at the bottom has settled a little.

With well oiled hands, form into a loaf.
Oiling hands ...
Dough after it has rested.
Plop it out onto the counter.
Press it out a bit with your hands.
Roll it up tightly into a big, long roll. This releases all the air bubbles. (I act like I know what I'm talking about, but I really don't. Piper taught us her tried and true techniques.) We're rolling ...
We're rolling ...
Here's what it looks like all rolled up.
Take the 2 ends of the roll and fold them in so they meet in the middle.

Place in well greased pan.
Place the roll in the loaf pan with the joined ends down.
Cut a slit down the middle.

Raise until doubled.
Here they are rising. It didn't take long. We had Papa Murphy's pizza while waiting ... yum!
All done rising!
We were already so proud of our handiwork and we hadn't even baked them yet!

Bake in pre-heated oven (350) for 30-35 minutes.
It was hard to get a picture of this one, but Piper has perfected the technique of quickly pulling the loaf out of the oven with one hand and plopping it out into her other hand (using potholders with both hands) and placing it on a cooling rack in one swift, smooth motion.
And here they are. Gorgeous, huh?
Evan didn't know what they were ... not being sliced and all.

And that's it. That's all there is to it. I hope I didn't make it seem too complicated because it's really not. I just wanted to include everything because I wouldn't have known how to form it into a loaf and such.

Let me leave you with one final warning: if your body is not used to it, wheat takes a little getting used to. Your innards won't know what hit them for a day or two, so go easy at first. But it is so good and so good for you that it's totally worth it!


Becky's Place said...

Thanks Mandy!! I'm ready to try the recipe.

Anonymous said...

If you like to conserve calories, try my water method for forming loaves:

Put a couple of handfulls of water on a countertop or table space large enough to roll out your dough. Spread it around some. Get your roller wet. Place a ball of dough enough for one loaf on the watered space. Roll out your dough into a rectangle large enough on the short side to fit your loaf pan. Get your hands wet again. Roll the dough from the short side to form a loaf. Place it in the well greased pan. Repeat if you have more dough for more loaves.

Also, if you like soft crusts without adding more calories, place a damp kitchen towel over your loaves when they come out of the oven. Leave it on until they cool. Voila! Soft crust.