Thursday, April 7, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

This recipe comes from Allrecipes and is originally called "Kid-Friendly Wheat Bread", but I don't like using "Kid-Friendly" in the recipe title.... because kid-friendly conjures up images on orange boxed mac & cheese and dino-shaped chicken nuggets.... stuff like that.  I do have to say, though, that this bread IS kid friendly, based on how much my kids love it.  They love any type of homemade bread though, so I don't know if this is any more loveable than other recipes I've tried.  However, it is very good, it's easy to make, and I really like it too. 

I've made it in the past, but just in the last two weeks, I've made it twice.  If it's not gone after 2 days, I slice it and stick it in the freezer- that way, I can pull out some to make toast or school lunches.  (Homemade bread makes the BEST toast!)  This is a nice, firm loaf- it does not cumble when making sandwiches, etc.  The last time I made it, I made one loaf into cinnamon-swirl bread by mixing together 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.  I put a little melted butter on the rolled-out bread dough, sprinkled the sugar mixture on, and rolled it up like a cinnamon roll, and the put it in the pan to rise. 

Note: This recipe uses a stand mixer with a dough hook.  You may knead it by hand if you wish. 

With butter and my homemade freezer jam!
Whole Wheat Bread
adapted from Allrecipes
makes 2, 9x5 loaves

1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 (.25 ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
softened butter for rubbing baked loaves, optional

1.  Measure the water into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer and stir in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2.  Add 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and 3 cups of whole wheat flour to the bowl along with the brown sugar, salt, melted butter, and milk. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix on low speed to blend ingredients. Continue to mix on medium-low speed, adding the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all of the flour. Mix (knead) on medium speed for about 5 minutes. Oil the bowl and turn the dough to coat. Cover loosely and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

3.  Punch down the dough and place on a floured surface. Divide into two equal portions and use a rolling pin to roll each one into a rectangle that is about 16x8 inches (or shape into loaves however you wish). Be sure to press out all of the air bubbles. Roll the rectangles into loaves and pinch the seam together.

4.  Place loaves seam side down into greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Cut a few slits across the top of each loaf using a sharp serrated knife (optional, I never do this). Set aside to rise until your finger leaves a dimple when you gently press into a loaf, 30 to 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (200 degrees C).

5.  Bake the loaves for 30-45 minutes, or until loaves are deep brown. Rub crusts with butter if desired.  Remove from pans to cool on a wire rack.

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