Let’s talk for a minute about whole wheat bread.
We all know that we’re supposed to eat more whole grains because they’re good for us. The thing is, while baking whole wheat bread isn’t more difficult than baking white bread, getting it to rise sometimes is. Too many people give up because their loaves turn out heavy and small.
There are a few ways to get around this, though in my experience whole wheat will never be quite as fluffy as white. The trick is to mess with the gluten, the more gluten your loaf has the better it will rise, unfortunately whole wheat doesn’t have as much gluten as white bread.
-Add more gluten – This can be done by adding a small amount of Vital Wheat Gluten
to your flour, or substituting a small amount of the whole wheat flour for regular flour.
-Knead longer – Keep kneading the dough, even after it’s kneaded. Kneading an extra 5 minutes will help break down the gluten.
-Soak the flour. Pour the liquids over the flour and let it alone for 5 minutes, this also helps break down the gluten.
-Let it rise longer than normal, as in an extra hour if you can spare the time.
-Do nothing. Accept that your whole wheat loaf will probably be more compact than you’re used to, it will still taste delicious.
You’ll notice that my recipe calls for a small amount of white flour. To keep the recipe 100% whole wheat just use all whole wheat flour and skip the white.
Honey-Whole Wheat Bread, makes 2 loaves
1 C warm water
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 C milk
1/4 C honey
2 T oil
4 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 C white flour (approx, plus or minus a bit for kneading)
1 T salt
Pour yeast and honey into water, mix well and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Add other liquids & salt to yeast/honey/water. Add flour 1 cup at a time and mix well.
Allow the dough to sit for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, then let the dough sit for 5. Knead for another 5 minutes.
Allow the bread to rise for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
Grease 2 loaf pans. Divide dough in half, form each into a loaf and place in loaf pans.
Make small slashes in top of dough (I prefer one vertical slash) and allow the loaves to rise another 40-60 minutes in a warm area.
Heat the oven to 425, then reduce to 375. Bake loaves 30-35 minutes and turn out to dry on a rack.