Everyday Wheat Bread

Many moons ago I started making bread for my family and while everyone enjoyed fresh baked bread on the side of meals the recipes left much to be desired when it came to being able to use the bread to make sandwiches or french toast, etc. I then set out to find a recipe that included whole wheat flour, didn’t require the specialty extras like wheat gluten, tasted good and could hold up to a sandwich prepared by the man I married. Shouldn’t be to hard right? It took me nearly 2 years. But now that I have it figured out life is great and my children no longer look longingly at rows of bread in the grocery store as we cruise on by.

There is something soothing about making bread by hand. Sure I let my happy purple Kitchenaid do most of the grunt work, but I love the feel of dough working between my hands and the counter and thinking of the generations of women before me who have prepared bread for their families in similar fashion.

2 2/3 cup warm water
2 1/2 TBS yeast
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 cup oats (rolled, steel cut, etc)*
3 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt

*I really love the texture of steel cut oats and if you choose to use them I suggest adding them to the water and letting them soak a bit before adding the yeast.

In your mixing bowl add your water and yeast and let the yeast proof for about 5 minutes. Then add the oil and honey and mix it in well, letting set for another 5 minutes.

In another large bowl combine oats, flours, and salt. Mix well and then add to yeast mixture. Stir well. I use the dough hook attachment and just let it run until the dough is mostly combined. Depending on the humidity I sometimes have to add more flour, but this can be done while kneading.

I’ve been known to skip the kneading step all together if I’m in a hurry or feeling extra lazy. I just let the mixer mix longer. But if you’re kneading this is where you turn your dough unto a floured surface and knead your little heart out for about 10 minutes or until the dough is soft and elastic.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place your dough in to rise. I love using my Excaliber food dehydrator’s bread rising setting, but whatever method you use is fine. Dough should double, usually within an hour to an hour and a half.

Knead dough a few more times and then shape and place into 2 loaf pans. Bake at 375 for about 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

Place on wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes and then remove from pan to finish cooling.

I always cut the first heal off and eat it with butter while still warm. It’s my special mommy treat for doing all the work. It’s my little red hen moment.

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