I want to share the joy that making my own bread has brought me . . . with everyone! Here I’m going to walk you through my bread-baking regimen in my own kitchen, with resources you likely already have in your kitchen (read: sans “bread maker” ; isn’t this what an oven is for?)
So come with me, and know how easy, quick, fun, and delicious it can be to make your own whole wheat sandwich loaf.
I have adapted the Master Recipe from the lovely cookbook, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. They call for wheat gluten, which I don’t use, and my bread is lovely if I do say so myself.
5.5 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon salt
1.5 tablespoons granulated yeast
1) Measure out your flour
2) Measure out yeast
3) Put flours into whatever mixing bowl you’ll be using – I put mine directly into my KitchenAid mixer bowl
4)-5) Follow with measured out yeast and salt
6) Mix dry ingredients
7) Add water – make sure it is lukewarm/room temperature; this will aid the initial rising of the bread
8) Mix it up! The key to this bread – that is a fun, time-saving key – is that it does not need to be kneaded – I put my mixer on high until everything is all worked together (usually takes up to 2 minutes), and then – voila – done with the mixing!
9) This is just the way I let it all unstick – a fun tip is I let time and gravity interfere so I don’t have to pull all the sticky dough off the parts of my mixer ; I just let it slowly fall off
10) Let it rise for 2 hours. This is the inital rising time; if you’re storing it in the fridge immediately after making it because you’re not ready to actually bake any bread yet, you still need to let it rise for 2 hours first. Then, when you take the dough out of storage whenever you’re ready to bake it; you have to let it rise again (follow whatever recipe’s instructions on this front)
12) After the 2 hours of rising, start shaping the bread. For this sandwich loaf recipe, pull about a cantaloupe-sized portion (or 2 pounds) from the master recipe (this should be about half the dough that you’ve made)
Begin shaping this into a ball by stretching the dough and rotating the ball as you go
Then elongate this cantalope-size ball of dough into an oval
13) Then put the oval of dough into your baking pan – a pre-greased (I use sunflower oil) 8.5″ x 4.5″ loaf pan
14) Let it rise . . . again! This time for 60 minutes (1 hour & 45 minutes if you are using dough that has been storing in the fridge)
*At this time, preheat oven to 450° and place boiler tray – or other oven-friendly pan/dish- filled with water on rack
15) After the bread has risen for the appropriate amount of time and just before putting into oven to bake, paint top of bread with water using pastry/marinating brush
16) Slice the loaf diagonally with 1/4″ deep cuts using a serrated knife – this just looks cool ;)
Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until the top is darkened and firm and you can stick a toothpick into the center and have it come out clean of dough
It should look something like this:
For storage, I recommend storing in an airtight container. You can slice off pieces as you are ready to eat them, and the bread should be lovely for a week; it will last longer, it just begins to dry out and harden a bit. Of course, the fresher the better! Happy eating!