Folks are always impressed when I tell them I bake my own bread and I can't figure out why? Baking bread is soooo easy! Truly, I'm not exaggerating. Especially if you have a Kitchen-Aid like machine, with a dough hook. Yes there is some measuring and chemistry involved, but it's not that complicated. The next question I get is: isn't it time consuming? Yes it does take three hours start to finish but the prep time is less than ten minutes, most of the three hours is spent rising and baking.What I tell people is: start making bread before you start making dinner, in other words, start your dough first and then cook dinner. By the time you've cooked dinner, cleaned up dinner and in my house care for kids, voila...your bread is done and better than anything you can buy in the grocery store.
I don't make promises often or lightly but I promise this recipe is a keeper!
Kraken’s Light Whole Wheat Bread
5 tsp yeast
2 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp sugar white, demerara, cane, course and in a pinch brown sugar, I've used them all. Experiment.
(Optional) 3 TBS Vital wheat gluten available at at http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/vital-wheat-gluten-16-oz or some health food stores, it will make bread softer
3 ¼ C Warm water. If the dough is too thick add more water, up to a 1/4 C. I like my dough to be wet so I tend to use more water than I should. Starting out, you should use a little less.
3C Bread flour
3C Whole wheat flour, either white whole wheat, or whole wheat flour
Put yeast, salt sugar and vital wheat gluten (if using) in a large bowl or the bowl of a Kitchen-Aid machine. Pour in water, stir and let rest for a few minutes.
Add flour and knead until supple about 10 minutes by hand. If using a machine and dough hook, turn on no higher than 2, it should take 5-7 minutes.
Place in a warm spot and let rise for 60 minutes; an oven with the interior light on is a good spot. I let mine rise on a trivet on top of a radiator but bread baking books tell you not to do that.
Grease 2 loaf pans.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Gently shape dough into loaf and place dough into pans; let rise for 60 minutes.
Preheat oven 350
Bake for 50 minutes
If you’re going to bake bread regularly, buy commercial quality loaf pans, they do make a difference. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/9-x-5-loaf-pan
I also recommend buying yeast in bulk on line, it’s significantly less expensive! I buy SAF Red at King Arthur Flour. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/saf-red-instant-yeast-16-oz
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