Friday, August 22, 2008

Farm-Style Whole Wheat Bread

After a little experimentation, I have come up with a whole wheat bread I like. OK, not 100% whole wheat, but let's not get picky. I call it "farm-style" because it more like the bread my mom used to make (not that we ever lived on a farm) than the artisan-style breads I usually bake. I have discovered a few things about bread along the way. 1. Make sure you have quality ingredients. Make sure your flour is fresh and your yeast is active. 2. Knead the bread thoroughly. Work that gluten, baby! 3. The oven is a great place to let dough rise. Turn it on for 1 min to slightly warm, then turn off and stick your dough in. And 4. Good bread takes a little time but it totally worth it. This is a nice tender loaf that stays fresh for a few days and is perfect for sandwiches. The boys love it and prefer it to the bread we sometimes buy from the bakery downtown. In your face, professional baker!

- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 2 cups soy milk (room temperature)
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup loose packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground flax
- 1 tbsp sea salt (must be sea salt, or it will be too salty)
- 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 cups white bread flour
- 3-4 cups all purpose whole wheat flour

1. Mix sugar into water, then whisk in yeast until dissolved. Set aside to foam (if it doesn't, your yeast is no good.)
2. In a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid bowl), mix together soy milk (zap quickly in microwave to bring to room temperature) and vinegar. Add sugar, flax, salt, yeast mixture, vital wheat gluten, and white bread flour. Mix well. I use the batter attachment of the KitchenAid and really beat it well, until gluten strings form and mixture is very smooth.
3. Add in enough whole wheat flour to make a soft and slightly tacky dough. How much depends on humidity, type of flour, etc. Generally 3.5 cups works for me. Knead for 10 mins. Although I am a big fan of hand-kneading, I let the KitchenAid do most of the work, then knead the last few mins by hand.
4. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1.5 hours). Punch down dough, then gently stretch the ends of the dough outward. Then, fold in like a business letter. Turn dough 90 degrees and repeat. Try not to rip the dough. Re-form into a ball, cover, and let rise again until doubled (about 1 hr). Repeat above process, re-cover, and let rise for 30 mins.
5. Divide dough into two using a serrated knife and shape into loaves. Cover with a towel and let rise until about 1 inch over the top of the pan.
6. While bread is rising, preheat oven to 375 convection (400 regular). Slash tops and bake for 22-25 mins (30-35 regular). I like to remove the bread when it is just done and still a bit on the moist side. This makes for a nice loaf the next day--not too dry. I will admit I have only baked this in a convection oven so I am guessing a little on the times for the regular oven.


Wunderama said...

This bread looks delicious. Would you be able to bake this in a bread machine? Also... with bread like this (and others that I have made in a bread machine) how do you slice it so you get those nice even slices? When I slice home made bread it just kind of mushes the whole loaf down and breaks apart. Any suggestions? :) Thanks in advance - your stuff is always so great!

VegMomma said...

"In your face, professional baker!"
Ha! I love it.
Thanks for the recipe! I will be trying it out right away!

Maria Purviance said...

i was just thinking about how i want to start making my own bread! thanks for the recipe. i will have to try this.

Maria Purviance said...

I was just thinking today that I wanted to make some homemade bread! Thanks for the recipe. Looks great, I will have to try it.

Bianca said...

That looks great. My breads never slice that well, and they're impossible to use for sandwiches. Yours looks professional!

Vegan Dad said...

The key to cutting homemade bread is a good serrated bread knife and a sawing motion.

Kitty said...

What size bread pans do you use, Vegan Dad?

I'm excited to try this recipe. I've been looking for a new wheat bread recipe - the one I've been using is just too heavy.

mom said...

Nice even texture - well done!

Liz said...

Just tried out this recipe and the texture is great! I am wondering, though, if you added any salt to yours. I didn't realize there wasn't any listed until I tried a slice...and I think it could use a bit. Thanks-

Vegan Dad said...

I just made some the morning and realized that I had left the salt out. Many aplologies. I add 1 tbsp of sea salt. The recipe is fixed.

Vegan Dad said...

I think a bread machine would be fine, though I have never used one.

Liz said...

Thanks Vegan Dad!
I can't believe I didn't notice it when making the bread, though. Oh, well, I'll make it into garlic bread with plenty of salty Earth Balance on top.

:o) said...

This is the best bread recipe I have ever tried…it turned out PERFECT!!!

Thank you Vegan Dad!!!!!

Binx said...

i've never used ground flax while baking. what purpose does it serve in this-- leavening or fat, or both? i ommited it, since I don't have any, and the bread is rising; while kneading I realized the recipe didn't call for any oil, so I kneaded in a bit of canola to make it less sticky... also, fat keeps bread moist. any thoughts?

can't wait until i bake it...

Vegan Dad said...

I am using the flax here as an egg--to beind things together a bit more--and to add a little flavour/nutrition to the loaf. Just seems wholesome to have flax in a whole wheat bread.

As for the fat, I posted this after getting some flack over too much oil in my recipes. I guess I was a little oil-shy. I have made it both ways. It is a bit more tender with the oil, and keeps fresher longer. But, you don't absolutely have to have it. I make a fairly tacky dough (if it seems sticky, add some flour) which translates into a nice moist loaf when baked.

Tell me how it turns out.

Sorry I didn't some to see you sing in Philly. I hope it all went well.

Binx said...

Well, it doesn't look like yours, but it turned out well! It tastes great ad has great texture, and I will keep making it.

Debate time!!!

Binx said...

Just wanted to say that I make this regularly! This last time I added a cup of quinoa (uncooked) and 1/3 cup of cleaned wheat, which just looks like wheatberries to me. Turned out great!

Okra Mary said...

I'm getting ready to try this recipe this weekend and wanted to know - does it freeze well? I can't eat a whole loaf of bread in a few days since it's just me, but I wanted to slice it and freeze it for later.

Have you tried this?