I know a lot of you are still in the throes of summer heat, however, here in Alaska, mid-August is the beginning of our fall, with night time temperatures in the 40's and day time temperatures between 55 and 65 (we will probably have night time frost in a couple of weeks). Therefore, my thoughts are turning to heartier recipes. If YOUR part of the world is still too hot for baking, I hope that you will bookmark this recipe for YOUR fall season.
I searched long and hard for this whole wheat bread recipe. It makes great dinner rolls, hamburger buns and (best of all) excellent sandwich bread. It is just a basic whole wheat recipe, nothing fancy, but the bread is moist, flavorful and remains fresh longer than most homemade breads. I hope you will try it.
3 CUPS WARM WATER
2 ENVELOPES OF YEAST (or 2 tablespoons)
2/3 CUP HONEY
5 CUPS BREAD FLOUR
3 TABLESPOONS CANOLA OIL
1 TABLESPOON SALT (do not leave out)
3 & 1 /2 CUPS WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
In your stand mixer bowl, mix the warm water, honey, oil, salt, yeast and 5 cups of bread flour. Mix well and let this stand for 30 minutes (it will get full of air bubbles).
After 30 minutes, mix in 2 cups of whole wheat flour (you'll need your dough hook for this). Work in an additional 1 & 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (1/2 cup at a time) until your dough comes cleanly away from the inside walls of your bowl. This last measurement of flour is flexible. You may only need one more cup or you may need 2 cups, it depends on the humidity in your house (and the moisture level in your flour).
You will know your dough is ready when the inside walls of your mixing bowl are free of anything sticky. When it gets to that stage, let the machine knead the dough for about five more minutes.
After it has kneaded for five minutes, remove the dough from the bowl and spray just a little vegetable spray inside the bowl and put the dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about an hour or until the dough has doubled.
After it has doubled, push your fist into the dough and deflate it. Turn it out onto the counter and knead it about half a dozen times to get the air out. If you are making sandwich bread, divide the dough into three sections (recipe makes three loaves).
Roll each section out into a rectangle then roll each rectangle up into a log, pinching the seams and ends shut. Place each "log" into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough raise for an hour or until doubled.
Bake loaves in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Immediately remove from pan and cool on bakers rack. Brush loaf tops with butter. Don't cut the loaves until they are cooled completely.
If you want to make hamburger buns, pinch off a ball of dough about the size of a lime (maybe just a little bigger). Round it into a ball and then put it on your counter and flatten it to a 5" circle with your hand. Place on greased cooking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let it raise for about 30 minutes or until doubled. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or till golden.
If you are making bread rolls, pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Round it and place it in a greased baking dish about 2" apart. The dough will expand and touch each other as they raise. Cover with plastic and let raise for an hour or until doubled. Bake at 400 for about 18 minutes or till golden.
NOTE: Just before you cover your dough (at any stage) with plastic wrap, use a minimal amount of cooking spray on the surface of your dough. This will keep the plastic from sticking (and deforming) your dough when you try to remove it.
NOTE: As soon as the bread comes out of the oven, make sure you brush the tops with a little melted butter. This will keep the crust soft.
NOTE: Make hamburger buns a lot thinner than you think they need to be. Don't forget, they will raise even more in the oven and you don't want a bun that looks like a football.
NOTE: Let bread loafs cool completely before you slice them. If you try to slice hot bread, it often misshapes the slices.