Today's real food recipe is brought to you by moi. I have sold countless loaves of this delicious whole wheat bread! The only thing that warms my heart more than sharing a loaf with someone that I made is to actually share the recipe, so your family can enjoy the most healthful bread at the best cost. Bread may seem a little intimidating, and believe me, my first loaf turned out something like this:
Good flavor. Too flat. Poor Jeremy "enjoyed" many a flat sandwich our first year of marriage! And he always said, "Good job, honey!" What a sweetheart. Now looking back he says, "You sure have improved your breadmaking skills, babe." haha. I was so concerned with the bread drying out during the second rise that I was putting a damp towel over the loaf. Well, a damp towel is too heavy to put over rising bread. Duh. During the second rise, you don't even have to cover the bread, however if you want to, you can use a paper towel or dry, light kitchen towel.
I know what you are thinking, "Anna, who has time to make bread? I can barely keep up with the store bought variety!" Bread does take a little time, but you know what? I am actually making bread right now- and as you can tell, i'm typing my blog post for the day so I am not even in the kitchen! There is a little hands- on time, however most of breadmaking is waiting time, so you can be doing other things around the house, playing with kids, even running errands during the first rise! I would say that I am actually doing something hands-on for about 15 minutes out of the 3-5 hour process.
Two things to consider when making your own bread. The grain you use, and deciding to sprout or soak your grain, making it a two-day bread (more info can be found on the benefits of sprouting in my blog titled 'Tuesday's Real Food Recipe- Baked Oatmeal').
I mill my own grain with a food mill that looks like this:
as you can see, it attaches right to my Kitchen Aid. Milling your own grain is really not as scary or wierd as you might think. I use either hard red grain spring wheat:
or hard white winter wheat:
Both have enough gluten to make a great loaf of bread. You can also mix in spelt, flax seeds, and many other grains. Milled grain is slightly courser than storebought flours, but work beautifully in this recipe. Here is my recipe for soaked, Honey whole wheat bread!
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
yields 1 2lb loaf. It is easily doubled
By Anna Everhart
Mill 3 Cups of Grain (you need about 3 3/4 cups of flour, but 1 cup grain yields about 1 1/2 cup flour)
measure out 3.5 cups flour and put in mixer (or on counter if mixing by hand)
add 1.5 cups water, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 cup milled flax seeds (optional). Mix until encorporated (you will knead on day 2). Cover and let it sit 12-24 hours at room temperature.
Add 3 Tbsp. honey
1 tbps good quality oil such as EVOO or Organic coconut oil
2 tsp. active dry yeast
Knead for 8 minutes in kitchen aid or by hand on the counter. Add a little more flour if it is too sticky to work with. kneading looks like this:
smoosh it forward, then pull it back towards yourself, make a quarter turn, and repeat.
This is a great step to get the kids involved. Noah, my 4 year old, has been making bread with me for the past 2 years. He watches the grain mill, and helps me knead the dough (which is a great way to build his little fine motor muscles!).
Put kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for a good two hours. Soaked bread takes longer to rise because it isn't warm. If you speed through this step, you will NOT get a fully risen loaf by the end and will be disapointed. Depending on how cold your house is, this could take even 3 hours. It won't hurt the dough to leave it out a little too long, so I am always generous with this first rise.
Once the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down, roll it out flat with your hands or a rolling pin, and roll it up tightly to reduce large air holes. It will look like this:
place it in your oiled bread pan (I prefer baking stones) and let it rise again for 30-45 minutes, until it has doubled in volume again. It should be rounded up higher than the loaf pan, like this:
You can also bake this bread as a free standing round loaf on a baking stone. Place in a 400 degree preheated oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove and cool completely on a baking rack (i usually cover with a kitchen towel and let cool overnight. It is very tempting to eat the bread out of the oven, and if you will eat it quickly, or are making it for breakfast, etc. this is fine. But, it will stay fresher and have a better crumb, and it will be easier to slice if you let it cool completely before slicing.
*For an artisan style loaf, I suggest only using 1 lb of dough if doing a round "boule" style. Otherwise, you could make two boules, or make a more rectangular shaped loaf if you want 2 lbs. Once the dough has done it's first rise, put the dough on a heavily floured (course flour or corn meal work best) pan or cutting board and slash the top of the dough with a floured serrated knife in any pattern you choose. Let a baking stone preheat on the bottom rack in the oven for the last 20 minutes of rise time at 400 degrees. When your loaf has risen, slide it quickly into the oven directly onto the preheated stone (the course flour will let it slide easily onto the hot stone and not interfere with the rise). Spray about 3-5 mists of water from a spray bottle when you put the bread in the oven to create steam. The steam makes a wonderfully brown, crusty loaf! After 5 minutes, open the oven quickly and spray mists of water again. You can also pour about 1 cup of hot water into a broiler tray at the beginning of baking if you have one instead of misting. Bake for about 45 minutes. It will look like this:
Breadmaking is an art, but it really is attainable for anyone who enjoys being in the kitchen! Whether you bake bread once a year, or every week like me, I hope it brings a little joy to your life. If you have any questions, or need help troubleshooting a problem, please feel free to ask! I love helping other baker's out! Also, here are a few great sources for breadmaking that have helped me tweak my skills!
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberf and Zoe Francios
video by Sarah Pope on preparing grains and legumes
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon