whole whole-wheat bread

I mentioned the “Laurel’s Bread Book” whole-wheat bread a couple of days ago.  This bread turned out to be really good for sandwiches!  It holds together well, doesn’t crumble much, and keeps peanut butter and jelly contained while travelling.  We tested this the other day by eating lunch in our parked car downtown after doing a bit of Christmas shopping!

It does take a little more planning than the bread machine, but for most of the prep time it’s just, well, sitting there.  That’s not too hard, is it?

Whole-Wheat Bread, from “Laurel’s Bread Book” (I have paraphrased here):

2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water

6 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp salt

2 cups lukewarm water (the recipe calls for 2 1/4, but I find this too much.  In fact, next time I might reduce it to 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup oil or butter (if you choose)

The basics of the directions are: 
Mix yeast and warm water; allow to dissolve.  *You can skip this step by using rapid rise yeast — use 2 1/2 tsp and add the 1/2 c water to the rest of the water later*
Mix flour and salt; separately mix water, honey, and oil together.  Add honey and yeast mixtures to well in the middle of flour mixture.  Place in a non-oiled bowl (I cover with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel).
You will need three rises, preferably in a warm kitchen (make cookies while bread is rising!):
1st rise:  about 1 1/2 hrs (it should double); let air escape and reshape into round
2nd rise: about 3/4 to 1 hour (it should double again) let air escape and reshape into round
split in two if you like, let rest for ten minutes; shape into loaves and place in pan of your choice
3rd rise:  about 3/4 to 1 hour (it should just start to go over edges of a bread pan, if pan is big enough)
Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then reduce temp to 325 and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour (45 is usually enough for me, but it is a little moist).

The book has lots of suggestions for variations on this recipe, so if you are feeling adventurous and want some “fancy” bread, borrow it from me or pick up a copy.  It’s a lot of fun!


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