Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wheat Bread

What you'll need:
6 or 7 Cups wheat flour
2 Cups white flour*
2 Cups milk (scalded)
3 Tablespoons butter
1/4 Cup of honey (OR 3 Tablespoons sugar)
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Cup of nuts, chopped
2 packets OR 4 1/2 teaspoons dry instant yeast
1 1/2 Cups warm water

*makes for a lighter, loftier loaf (or use all wheat and forgo the white flour altogether-it takes approximately 8 to 9 Cups of flour TOTAL for this recipe)

This recipe makes 2 loaves

You can use a mixer if you have one, I mix it by hand.
Heat the milk till it boils, remove and stir in butter, honey & salt while the milk is still hot-set aside and allow to cool.
While the above is cooling measure out a Cup of nuts and chop them up. These are pecans but you can use whatever appeals to you.

Measure out 1 1/2 Cups warm water (don't exceed 120 degrees or it can "kill" the yeast) and dump in 2 packets of yeast (or 4 1/2 teaspoons if you have bulk powdered yeast), stir with a fork.

Put 4 Cups of flour into a large bowl and throw in all the liquids and the chopped nuts. Star mixing.
This is what the dough looks like after 4 or 5 cups have been mixed with the liquid ingredients. At this point it's pretty sticky and "shaggy":

Mix it up adding a Cup at a time till the 7th Cup then add your flour a 1/4 Cup at a time till you get a firm even smooth texture that is not sticky.When you knead the dough use your palm and work it and fold it and work it and fold it.You are NOT massaging the dough or tickling the dough, push the dough around. This took about 5 minutes from starting to mix to get it to this point:

In this batch I've mixed in two Cups of white flour and seven Cups wheat flour. You can use all wheat flour if you prefer. It takes approximately 9 Cups of flour total. Here's how the dough looks after the kneading process:
Pour some oil (I use olive oil) over the mass of dough, enough to coat the whole thing to keep the exterior from drying while it rises. I pour a little in the bowl and rub the entire surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft free location until it doubles-about an hour.

After an hour it should look something like this:

Split the dough in two:

Do NOT knead or add any flour to the dough-this allows the dough to stick to itself when it's rolled up and helps lessen the occurrence of large air bubbles. I shape it into a fat rope's easier to watch these videos (images of the process after the videos):

Place the bread so it's in the center of the oven. After 25 minutes I cover the tops of the loaves with foil to keep them from getting too brown and continue baking for the rest of the time. Remove from oven and tap on the top of the loaves, they should have a firm crust and a hollow sound.

Let the bread cool completely before you put them in plastic bags or you'll get condensation in the bags. Because there are no preservatives in this bread you'll need to refrigerate it after 4 or 5 days.