Monday, April 18, 2011

Lorrie's Wheat Bread

This wheat bread recipe is designed for maximum nutrition with a rich and hearty flavor. It has a fine crumb, is soft enough for everyday sandwich bread, and also makes excellent toast.
Yield: 2 loaves

7 cups finely ground whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
2 ½ cups warm water (115 degrees is best, so checking with a candy or hot drink thermometer is perfect)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon salt

Proof the yeast by whisking it and the honey into the warm water. Let stand for several minutes until a thick froth develops on top of the mixture.

Pour liquid into a large mixing bowl. Add the molasses, olive oil, and salt. Mix well.

Mix the flour into the liquid mixture one cup at a time, beating thoroughly while still at a batter-like consistency, then stirring with a wooden spoon as it becomes more dense.

Finally, turn the dough out onto a floured counter top or bread board and knead thoroughly for about ten minutes. This is heavy dough, so sufficient kneading is critical to producing a well-raised, soft loaf. Add flour only in small amounts sufficient to prevent the dough sticking to the counter surface. Dough is sufficiently kneaded when it springs back to an impression made by your finger.

Lightly oil your mixing bowl and turn the dough over in it to grease all surfaces. Set aside to rise, covered by a slightly damp cotton towel, until doubled in size. It will take up to two hours.

Knead the dough again for a minute or so to remove any large air bubbles. Separate into two loaves and place into lightly oiled 9x5 bread pans. Set aside uncovered in a draft-free area to rise until nearly double again, usually about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake loaves on center rack in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack or cotton towel, covered with a light cotton towel.

**Note** This bread freezes quite nicely in a sealed plastic bag. Make sure loaves are completely cooled before freezing or they will get soggy.

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