I promised Meghan half a dozen times that I’d share the recipe, so here it is. Amy V., you will recognize this from your mother, who gave it to me when I first got married. I always loved coming to your house and the smell of freshly baked bread!!
This is my Monday activity, and I have to say, I enjoy the whole process. My favorite part is the large, old, heavy bowl I use to mix it all in, and the sweet, yeasty smell of the bread as it rises into a puffy ball inside. Ahhh… now on to the recipe.
7-8 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups warm water
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey or molasses (I use honey)
2 TBSP yeast
2 TBSP dough enhancer (optional)
*Mix together water, honey, and oil in a large bowl
*Mix in 3 cups flour. Gently mix in yeast. Let this mixture sit for about 15 minutes to proof, until bubbly. This is a short cut, and eliminates one of the rises (if using a high speed mixer).
*Add salt and dough enhancer and mix. Begin adding flour gradually, mixing as you go, until you have a soft, but not dry dough. If using an electric mixer, the dough will begin to leave the sides of the bowl.
*Knead for about 10 minutes if by hand, 7-9 minutes if by mixer- or until smooth and elastic. I knead on an oiled surface instead of floured- keeps me from getting too much flour into the dough. You may put your dough in a lightly greased bowl for a 30 minute rise, but I have found that the initial “proofing” really eliminates the need for this. (If using a mixer, you can skip this rise.)
*Make out loaves. I roll my bread out in a rectangle the length of the kitchen counter and width of my bread pan, then I roll it towards me, sealing the edges as I go, and tucking under the ends and sealing- patting into the pans with the sealed side down. This recipe makes 3 loaves (8 1/2 x 4 x 2)
*Let rise in pans for 30 minutes. You can put it in the oven to rise on the lowest setting possible (80-100 degrees). After rising, turn to 325 degrees and bake for 35 minutes. If the loaves brown too quickly, I put foil loosely over the pan. Remove and place on racks to cool. NOTE: On rainy days, the bread may not need as long a rise or it will fall.
Enjoy! And let me know how it works out for you if you try it.