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Thursday, June 17, 2010

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Using whole grains in breads always makes it entirely hearty and flavorful (also see Whole Spelt Bread). Although bran can be found broken up and packed as it's different components (Wheat Bran, Wheat Germ), whole wheats are gaining popularity in a society which characterizes it as having very healthy benefits. The following recipe works great for either, making sandwiches with a Dijon mustard, or simply toasted with honey. The molasses gives this bread a very flavorful scent and a rich dark color. What distinguishes even more this recipe from others, is that it is not a blend of whole wheat flour with white flour. It uses nothing else but whole wheat flour, bringing you the full benefits of eating whole wheats. You will love this bread, I promise!

- 1 Tsp Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Warm Water
- 2 1/4 Tsp Active Dry Yeast (1 envelope)
- 1 1/2 Cup Warm Water
- 1/3 Cup Molasses
- 1 1/2 Tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable Shortening (Crisco)
- 4 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (May need more, depending on the level of humidity) 

Step 1: In a medium sized bowl, combine the sugar, warm water and active dry yeast. Stir gently and put aside in a draft-free place for 10 minutes, until the mixture starts bubbling. 

Step 2: Once the mixture is bubbling, add to the bowl; the 1 1/2 cup of warm water, 1/3 cup molasses, 1 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tbsp veg. shortening. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and then add 2 cups of the flour. Stir again until smooth. Then combine remaining 2 3/4 cups of the flour. At this point you can use your hand to mix all the flour in.

Step 3: Once the dough has come together to a ball, knead it on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic (10 minutes). Place in lightly greased bowl and turn dough around so the top is greased. Cover with plastic wrap and then a dish towel. Let rise is a warm place (24 to 29 degrees Celsius)  until the dough doubles in size. 

Step 4: Take the dough, divide it into 2 equal portions. Shape these into loaves. To do so please refer to my post "Forming a bread loaf". Place the formed loaves into greased loaf pans and let rise until the dough has risen 3cm (1 1/2") above the pan, and the dough has filled out the corners of the mold (45-60 mins).

Step 5: For an artisan look, take a sharp knife and lightly cut a small indent across the length of the loaf. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350F for about 20 to 30 minutes more, depending on the strength of your oven. Remove loaves immediately from pans once baking is complete. Let relax on cooling rack until they are cool enough to handle. 

The best with this bread is to cut into it when it still contains a little bit of warmth. This is the perfect moment to spread on some honey and it will melt in your mouth! Enjoy!

Eat well, sleep well and till tomorrow! 


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