I know that my sister thinks that her homemade white bread is tops, but I will put this whole wheat bread recipe up against hers at any county fair and be sure to take the ribbon home. I would dare say that it is healthier than hers also because it is using more whole grain flours and less white flour.
I used to make breads out of this bread book 40 years ago when I was in a book club in a small north central Iowa town. That was way before we had cell phones. Now, I can take advantage of some of the new tools that make this bread making so much easier. I use an instant read digital thermometer to test the temperature of the water for the yeast and for the water that I am adding to the bread. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of the baking and does a much better job of giving you a consistent bread when the yeast is doing it’s job.
I am also lucky enough to have a warming oven where I can control the temperature so that the bread rises evenly, both times. Trying to use an oven that has been turned off is not as consistent. Trying to get a place that is 80-85 degrees to let the dough rise in the middle of the winter in Minnesota is not so easy either.
The last tool that I am thankful to have is a dough hook on my mixer. This is great and saves a lot of effort on these old muscles of mine that I used to use for kneading.
This bread is a blend of flours. It comes out a lot lighter than you would think. It is not as heavy and grainy as many of the whole wheat bread recipes are or as thick as my oat bran muffins. I think that you will like it.
Ingredients: makes two loaves in 9 X 5 pans
4 1/2 tsp. yeast for bread or 2 pkgs. of dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 1/4 c. hot tap water (120-130 degrees)
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tsp. salt
1/2 c. shortening, room temperature
4 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all-purpose white flour, approx.
1 1/2 c. oat flour
Combine yeast into 1/2 cup warm water. Stir well with small whisk or fork and let stand.
Combine brown sugar, salt, and shortening in mixing bowl. Pour hot tap water in. Gradually add and beat 3 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of white flour together. Use dough hook on your mixer if you have one.
Pour yeast mixture in and beat with mixer at medium speed for 5 minutes. Add oat flour and last cup of whole wheat flour to mixer and beat again. You will have to knead the dough at this stage if you do not have a dough hook and it becomes too hard for your mixer.
After the flour is mixed in, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it is light and springy. Add flour to your hands to keep it from sticking. When the dough is smooth and kneaded, return it to a clean bowl that has been sprayed with Pam. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and keep in a warm spot (80-85 degrees) until it rises. It should double in size and take about an hour.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto the floured surface again. Knead lightly with floured hands for about 45 seconds. Split the dough into two pieces and shape into small loaves to fit into two bread pans that have been coated with Pam.
Cover the bread pans with wax paper this time and return them to the warm place to rise again – this time about 1 inch above the pan. This should take about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. When dough has risen the second time, remove was paper and pop them into the oven. Bake until well browned. This will take 40-45 minutes. Check loaf with a toothpick in the center to assure yourself that they are done. The toothpick will come out clean if they are done.
Allow the loaves to completely cool on metal racks before slicing. This is the hard part.