This bread has always been a defining characteristic of our family. We use this recipe for all the bread we make, whether pizza crusts, cinnamon rolls, buns, or raisin bread. Below are some important factors that may significantly change the process for others who use the recipe. Of course experience is important so that you get the feel for what texture the dough should be, because many other variables can change the exact amount of flour used on any given day.
1. We grind our wheat and have no experience using any other kind of flour, so if you buy whole wheat flour, it may make some differences. Our stone grinder is able to grind finer than some hand-grinders.
2. We use a Bosch mixing bowl with kneading hooks that knead the dough so that we do not have to knead it by hand. This bowl has two lids; the first is like a ring. It is about 2 inches wide and keeps the dough in the bowl while kneading. The 2nd lid is for covering completely, helpful for keeping warmth and humidity in the bowl while it is rising.
3. We use hard white spring wheat. Different kinds of wheat do make a big difference in the resulting bread’s color and density.
4. Since we have a “large family”, we always make a large batch; about 6 lb. of dough each time. Actually we have to bake bread one to three times each week depending on how much of the family is in. Any bread that will not be eaten in 24 hours can be frozen in plastic bags. We slice it before freezing it. That way we can bag it into portions that we will need at one time, such as two slices per family member, and remove one portion from the freezer at a time. By the way, it greatly improves the quality of the bread to double bag it when freezing. We like to put a number of portions, each in its own bag, into a large bag which can be marked with the date that batch was made.
Anyway, here’s the recipe:
100% Whole Wheat Bread
Prep time: 2 1/2 hours.
Batch size: 6 lb. dough, 6 medium-small loaves (about 12 slices per loaf including the heals). Larger bread pans can be used.
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure local honey
5 cups warm water (uncomfortably hot to the touch)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons of dry yeast
1 vitamin C tablet
15 1/2 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour.
1. Review the recipe and make sure all needed items are on hand.
2. Crush the vitamin C tablet in a small bowl and add the yeast and salt, set aside.
3. Grind 16 cups of wheat. This will make more than 16 cups of flour. It helps to make the bread while the flour is still warm from grinding. The leftover flour can be frozen for use in other recipes.
4. Pour the honey and oil into the large mixing bowl equipped with kneading hooks, then add 5 cups of warm-hot water.
5. Add 6 cups of flour, then turn on the mixer to the low speed. As soon as the flour is mixed in, and while mixing, add the dry mix of C, salt, and yeast, allow to mix for a few seconds.
6. Add two and a half cups of flour while mixing. When everything looks thoroughly mixed, turn off the mixer, and cover.
7. Allow the thin, spongy-looking dough to rise for 30 minutes, by which time it should have more than doubled.
8. “Punch down” the dough by turning on the mixer for just a few seconds. Then allow the dough to rise again for 15 minutes.
9. “Punch down” the dough a 2nd time. Allow to rise a 2nd time for 15 minutes.
10. Turn on the mixer to the low speed and add flour a cup at a time until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. It will likely be about 7 cups. When I made bread for the show it was 7 1/8.
11. Leave the mixer on and set a timer for 6 minutes. This kneads the dough.
12. Spray your bread pans, pizza crust pans, etc. with no-stick oil spray.
13. Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees F. or turn on a warming drawer.
14. When the dough has been kneaded, (6 min.), turn off the mixer.
15. Oil a section of clean counter top with a couple tablespoons of oil. Get your hands oily too.
16. Slide the kneading hooks out of the dough and remove the dough from the bowl onto the oiled surface. Divide the dough into 6 one pound loaves, shape, and put into bread pans – or divide dough into desired amounts for pizza crusts or rolls or buns, etc. The exact amounts of dough preferred for each item is best learned by experience. The resulting bread should be about double in size.
17. Put the bread into the warming drawer, or turn the oven off, open the door, and put the bread into the warm oven to rise for 30 minutes. If no warm place is available, the bread can be covered with a cloth and allowed to rise at room temperature. Let rise until size doubles.
18. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put bread in and bake for 25 minutes. If bread was rising in the oven, no need to remove it; just turn the oven on and bake for 30 minutes instead. If the bread surface looks too light after the baking time is over, leave it in for two or three minutes more or until it looks right before turning off the heat and removing the bread. Baking temperatures and times may be different depending on what the dough is being made into. We bake pizza crusts at 400 degrees for 6 or 7 minutes. They will be baked again with the toppings later and are usually frozen in the mean time.
19. Leave the bread in the pans for 5 minutes after removing from oven.
20. To remove the bread from the pans, slide a knife around the sides of each loaf to make sure it is separated from the pan, and finally dump the loaves out onto a cooling rack. Wait until the bread has (mostly) cooled before slicing and giving thanks… 🙂 🙂 🙂
For cinnamon rolls we roll an amount of dough into as large a rectangle as we can, with corners nice and square, and edges nice and straight. It should probably be about 1/4 inch thick, 16 to 18 inches long, and as wide as 1 inch per cinnamon roll desired. Obviously the amount of dough used depends on how many rolls you want to make. Spread with butter and honey, sprinkle with cinnamon and raisins, and roll up. Then slice the roll and turn the slices onto a greased pan for baking. They bake at 350 for 16 to 18 minutes.