I needed to make bread (for sandwiches and what not), and decided to take a couple after shots for you all. I was originally thinking to just tack these on to a post on my white bread, but I looked through all my posts and I was shocked to find that I haven't shared my white bread recipe with you yet! (I'll have to remedy that in the near future.)
So, I'm sorry that there are no step-by-step pics but I promise to do that when I post my white bread recipe. (I'm still baffled that I haven't blogged that already.) If you've made bread before, then it's no big deal. You know the drill. Mix the ingredients. Let it rise. Deflate it, shape it and let it rise again. Bake. Cool and eat. For those of you who are attempting to bake bread for the first time, I'll say this: it's not that hard! The hardest part is letting it rise and that does it all on it's own - you just have to judge when it's the right time to put your loaves in the oven. (I coincidentally let my loaves rise a little too long when I went to pick up the kids from school this afternoon, so that is why thy aren't as perfect looking as they should be.) But, even if you do happen to mess up, it's no big deal. The results could still be delicious. If not as sliced bread, a baked failure could be used to make croutons, bread crumbs and bread pudding. All delectable options for sub-par homemade bread.
I like thick slices . . .
Another evidence of my over-rising is the large-ish air pockets in the bread. It still tastes yummy. It's just harder to make sandwiches with since the condiments could seep out of the holes. Next time will be better.
Mama's 100% Whole Wheat Bread
3/4 cup warm filtered water (105F-110F)
2 Tbsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup raw, organic honey
In a large bowl, or stand mixer, whisk these ingredients together first. After the yeast has started to foam, then add:
2 2/3 cup warm, filtered water (105F-110F)
3 Tbsp organic, grass fed, unsalted butter, melted (can sub any oil if needed)
3 cups organic whole wheat white bread flour**(plus another 5-7 cups)
1 Tbsp salt
Whisk it all together until there are no lumps and it's elastic. Switch to a dough hook (or a wooden spoon and your hands if not using a stand mixer), and gradually add 1 cup of flour at a time until the dough comes together. **Depending on the day, you will add anywhere from 5-7 more cups of flour (for a total of 8-10 cups of flour in the recipe - I only added 8 cups today.). Add the flour slowly, and only add enough until the dough comes together and is slightly sticky, but smooth and elastic. Let the dough sit for 30 minutes, so the whole wheat can absorb the liquid properly. Knead for 15 minutes, only adding more flour if it becomes too sticky. (If you add too much flour, the resulting bread will be dense.)
Place in greased bowl, making sure the entire dough ball is greased. Cover and let it rise until doubled. Punch down the dough in the bowl and divide into thirds. Take each third out and place on a flat work surface. Work with one third at a time. Using your knuckles, press out any remaining bubbles. Fold the dough over on itself into thirds (like a wallet or bill fold). Evenly distribute the bubbles and for into a loaf shape. Place into a greased standard loaf pan and let rise until the dough is just 1 inch above the rim of the pan. (It usually more than doubles in size, but don't let it get too tall. If it rises too much it will deflate in the oven and not be so pretty.)
Bake all 3 loaves in a 380F degree oven on the middle or bottom rack. (Every oven is different. If you know yours burns everything when put too low, then use the middle rack.)
When the loaves are browned on top and bottom, and sound hollow when tapped, they are done. Turn out the loaves onto a flat towel and brush the tops with butter. Cover with another towel and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.