homemade whole wheat bread

9:15 AM

I've been making loaves of no-knead bread for a while now and we absolutely love it. It's stupid easy and no store bought loaf can even come close. Lately though we've been eating a lot of sliced bread. The kids love their pb&j's and I often throw together a sandwich for lunch for myself. So about a month or so ago I decided to cautiously venture out and bake some whole wheat bread for us. Turns out it's not that bad, albeit time consuming. Now I make these loaves every two weeks (one loaf lasts us about a week). I thought I would share the recipe for you in case any of you were on the fence about trying this. You don't need any fancy tools but you do need to be ready to work your upper arms :). 

[recipe makes two loaves]

1 1/4 cups warm (not hot) water

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup milk 

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup of finely chopped nuts (my recent addition and it makes it so much better!)
I also started adding a handful of oatmeal 

Pour the water into the bowl of a standing mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let this stand for a few minutes until the yeast has dissolved. Stir in the milk, honey, and oil.

Add two cups of all-purpose flour and the salt, and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Stir to form a shaggy dough. Let this stand for 20 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the liquid.

Using the dough hook attachment on a standing mixer, knead the dough for 8-9 minutes. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand against the counter. If the dough is bubble-gum sticky against the sides of the bowl or the counter, add extra flour a tablespoon at a time until it is no longer sticky. The dough is kneaded when it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked.

Clean out the mixing bowl and film it with a little oil. Form the dough into a ball and turn it in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm spot until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. This dough won't double quite as dramatically as other recipes, but the dough should look visibly puffed.

Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and turn the dough out on top. Divide the dough in two and shape each half into a loose ball. Let the balls rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two 8x4-inch (or 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch) loaf pans or film them with non-stick cooking spray. Shape each ball of dough into a loaf (see this tutorial for step-by-step instructions) and transfer to the loaf pans. It's important that the surface of the loaves be stretched taut; this helps them rise and prevents an overly-dense interior. Let the loaves rise a second time until they start to dome over the edge of the pan, 30-40 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425°F about halfway through the second rise.

Slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife and put them in the oven. Immediately turn down the heat to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes. Finished loaves will be dark golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the loaves from the pans and let them cool completely before slicing.

Loaves will keep at room temperature for several days. Loaves can also be wrapped in foil and plastic, and frozen for up to three months.

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