Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Whole Wheat Bread

I haven't bought bread from any grocery store for 10 months. I vowed after I got my mixer for Christmas last year that I wouldn't ever buy bread again. I am so happy (and a little proud) that I have stuck by this resolution b/c I rarely actually do things that I mean to! I give 100% of the credit for this bread dough to Rebecca Lutter, who demonstrated the recipe when we were in MO together as med-student wives. She now lives in UT and me in MI, but her bread recipe stuck with me. My friend, Ruth Gough showed me how to make it a second time to refresh my memory when I actually got my mixer. I have demo-ed it on numerous occasions to friends and am very proud to do so b/c it is the best bread ever! There are a lot of good whole wheat bread recipes and a lot of people say that their recipe is the best. I have decided that there isn't one best recipe for bread, but a handful that are the ones worth eating. This is one of those.
What I love about this recipe is that it is very versatile. When I make a batch of dough I can very easily make 1 loaf of bread, a pizza crust and cinnamon rolls all at the same time (or bread sticks or Navajo tacos or cinna-balls or scones or dinner rolls...)

Master this recipe then later add nuts, raisins, spices and flavoring for variety.

8-81/2 cups freshly ground wheat- grind super-fine(5 1/2 cups wheat usually makes the perfect amount of flour)
3 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup oil (I use smart balance omega oil)
1 1/2 T Saf yeast
1 T dough enhancer
1 T gluten
1 T real salt

Grind wheat on the finest setting. In mixer, combine water, honey, and oil. Add 4 cups fresh, warm flour. Add yeast, dough enhancer, and gluten. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute until smooth. Allow to rest 20 minutes until swelled and bubbly. (I have let it stand a lot longer than this before, like an hour, and it was totally fine.)
Add salt (don't forget the salt!) and remaining flour slowly over medium speed-- **use only enough flour to get the dough to clean the bowl and stick together. Mix on medium speed for 3-5 minutes until dough ball looks smooth, is very elastic and a small amount of dough stretched between your fingers into a square shape does not break, but you can see light through it.
Grease bread pans or bowl for rising if using for something other than bread.
For bread:
Grease (NOT flour) your hands and divide dough into three equal parts. Form each part into bread form and place in greased pan. Cover and allow to rise for ~30 minutes until bread is almost to desired height, about 1 inch above top of pan. Place in cold oven and set to 350 degrees. Allow to cook for 18-20 minutes until bread is lightly browned on top, pan sizzles on bottom when touched with wet finger and bread makes a hollow sound. Butter the top and allow to cool on side for 5 minutes. Serve warm or allow to cool before placing in air tight container.

For Pizza Crust:
Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Grease hands and place 1/3 dough on baking stone. Roll out to desired shape. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Lightly cover in oil and fresh garlic, basil, or other favorite Italian herbs. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Top with desired sauce and toppings and allow to bake until cheese is hot and bubbly.
For Bread Sticks:
Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Grease hands and place 1/3 dough on baking stone. Roll out until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into strips. Top with warm butter blended with your favorite Italian herbs, garlic. Spread over the sticks. Top with Parmesan or other favorite Italian cheeses if desired. Cook in preheated 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. For dinner rolls: Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Take 1/3 of dough. Roll out on floured surface until 1/3 inch thick. Use round cutter or large glass cup to to cut out even rolls. Place in dish of warm butter then onto roll pan. Allow to rest 10 minutes then bake in 350 degree over for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
For Cinnamon Rolls:
Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Take 1/3 of dough. Roll out on floured surface into rectangle until 1/4 inch thick. Mix 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 T cinnamon, and raisins or walnuts, if desired. Spread mixture evenly over dough's surface. Roll dough and cup with floss or string into 1 inch pieces. Place in 9x13 greased pan, cover, and allow to rise 15 minutes. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and allow to cook 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Drizzle with warm milk and powdered sugar glaze while hot, if desired.
American Scones:
Allow dough to rise 30 minutes. Roll out 1/3 dough on floured surface into rectangle 1/3 inch thick. Cut into even squares, about 3" x 3" or so. Allow to rest 10 minutes. Cook in deep fryer or in frying pan full of hot oil until golden brown on both sides and cooked through-- about 2 minutes. Allow to cool and then slice one side to fill with taco fillings or honey butter and warm jam.
For Doughnuts:
Follow instructions for American scones, except cut with doughnut cutter and place in mixture of sugar/cinnamon, powdered sugar, or warm milk and powdered sugar glaze straight out of fryer. For Navajo Tacos:Follow instructions for American scones except form dough into large round circles 1/3 inch thick. Fry as directed and then top with southwestern taco toppings (or Katherine Field's Southwestern Chicken)
Number Of Servings: Yields 3 large loafs or any variety of variations...
Preparation Time: 30 minute prep, 30 minute rise, up to 30 minutes to bake

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

That IS a good recipe! We love it, too! I fwlt so awful after giving you that whole grain bread after you had Kira! LOL. That was still my bread trial time! At the end of our stay in MO, I was really good at making bread, but now WA climate has been challenging..


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