Baking Homemade Wheat Bread

Kneading 4

I have long been a wonderful baker of bread…quick breads that is.  Banana, zucchini…you name it…anything without yeast!   But I have always been intimidated by baking homemade yeast breads.  I have dabbled with limited good results, but nothing  in the major accomplishment department.

Last night I made a great recipe I found online for a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread.  Thank you FreeRangeMama!  I loved that this post had lots of pictures so I could see if I was doing it right.   The recipe actually called for 4 loaves to be made at once, but with just three of us at home I thought that was a little excessive, even though it said it froze well.  And I didn’t have enough flour to make four loaves.  Decision made!  Two loaves it is!

I gathered my ingredients and dove in.  (My measurements are cut in half from the original to make just two loaves.)

6 cups whole wheat flour (divided in two)

3/4 cup seeds (optional) (ie. hemp, chia, flax, sunflower, sesame, etc.)  I used about 1/4 cup chia seeds

2 1/4 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup liquid honey plus 1/2 TBSP

3 TBSP butter, melted, at room temperature

1 tsp. salt

Water (see below for amounts)

The first thing you do is soak your flour and seeds for 30 minutes up to 2 hours.

Mix 3 cups of flour with 2 1/2 c warm water.  Add your seeds and cover with a damp towel. The recipe says your mixture should not be watery, just mix enough so there is no dry flour.  This was pretty easy, although I think mine may have needed a little more flour.

Starter

Next you start your Sponge (half hour before starting)

In 1/4 cup of warm water, gently mix 2 1/4 tsp yeast and 1 TBS honey, until just mixed.  Set Aside. Do not over-mix.  Sponge should be visibly active : bubbles forming before adding to recipe.  So this is where I got scared…YEAST, bubbles??

Here is mine:

Sponge 1

Just started…AND…nothing happening.  This is where I feared I had killed the yeast.  Patience is not my strong point.  But if you WAIT a few minutes, look what starts to happen.

Sponge 2

And if you wait a little longer:  IT’S ALIVE!!!

Sponge 3

Ok I have a sponge and I have soaked my flour and seeds.  Time to get mixing and kneading.

Add the sponge mixture, melted butter, honey and salt to the flour mixture and mix in remaining flour.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 minutes or until dough is pliable, but not dry.  This is the fun part.  Take out all your frustrations of the day on that dough!

Kneading 1

Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth.  Let rise for 2 hours or until double.  I used butter to grease my bowl and then RISE baby! RISE!

Stage 1 Rise

So now I have two hours to kill so I decided to make Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  Yum!  I even used half whole wheat flour and half white flour.  Trying to be healthy you know!

Cookies

So two hours later my dough is double.  Isn’t it pretty?

105_8409

Turn out onto lightly floured surface and punch down.  Knead for about 2 minutes.  Then divide the dough into two loaves and knead each loaf.  Roll with a rolling pin and then roll up into a loaf shape.  Place in greased loaf pans (again I used butter), cover with damp towel and let rise for another two hours.  Time to eat some of the Oatmeal Raisin cookies with a large glass of milk!

Kneading 2

Shaped

Ready to rise

Ready to bake

I think mine could have went a little longer, but I had already let it rise 2 1/2 hours and Downton Abbey was coming on soon.  A girl does have priorities.

I popped them in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes and voila!  Look at these beauties.  Not bad for a first attempt!  I did brush the tops with a little melted butter to keep them soft.

Done! Cooling

Enjoy

I took this piece in to enjoy while watching my show!  Yummy!

Click here to go to the original post I found this recipe on and let me know how your bread turns out.

~Stay blessed,

Mary Jo

Farmgirl Sister #5559

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