Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh homemade whole wheat bread baking in the kitchen? It’s just one of those things that will bring out all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings.
I’m always in search of recipes that can be fun easy and ones anyone can do. While browsing in a bookstore in the cookbook section, I found a book that really intrigued me. It was called “Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day” by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois. I sat down with this book and a cup of coffee and proceeded to read what this was all about. It didn’t take long before I decided I had to have the book and give some of the bread recipes a try.
I was amazed at just how good and how easy this bread was to make. We loved it. So without further ado, here is one of the recipes I tried.
Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
For Any Kind of Cook
Tools and Needs:
Ingredients: Makes 3 1-½ lbs. Loaves of Homemade Whole Wheat Bread.
- 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
- 1 ½ cups lukewarm milk
- 1 ½ tablespoons granulated yeast
- 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup good quality honey
- 5 tablespoons neutral flavored oil
- 6 ⅔ cups whole wheat flour (using the scoop and swipe method to measure, see notes)
Mix the water and milk in the large 6 quart food grade plastic bucket (or stand mixer) and stir. Mix in the yeast, salt, honey and oil. Add the remaining dry ingredients (do not knead) using the dough whisk (or stand mixer with a dough hook attachment).
Mix until all the flour is incorporated. Cover the bread dough in the bucket (or pour the dough from the mixing bowl into a plastic bucket), allowing it to rest at room temperature until the dough has risen and collapses or flattens at the top. This will take around 3 hours. Refrigerate the bucket with the dough overnight for use the next day.
The next day, place a layer of cornmeal on a pizza peel. Take the bucket of dough out of the refrigerator. The dough is quite sticky so wet your hands for easy handling, then pull off about a third of the dough out of the bucket. Quickly pull and shape the dough into a smooth ball. Do not over handle. Place the ball of dough on the prepared pizza peel. Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes or so to come to room temperature and to rise.
Preheat the oven to 350° F with the baking stone in the center of the oven . Place the broiler pan in the oven under the baking stone. You should do this at least 30 minutes before the end of the resting period. When the dough has rested, dust the top with flour and slash the dough with 3 ¼ inch cuts. Gently scoot the dough onto the heated baking stone in the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler pan and quickly close the oven. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until it’s richly brown and firm. Remove the bread from the baking stone and allow it to cool completely before slicing.
Notes: You will absolutely need a 6-quart bucket. The dough will rise almost to the top. The amount of cornmeal on the pizza peel matters. Otherwise, it won’t slide on the heated baking stone very easily. When we say not airtight that is exactly what we mean. Otherwise, the dough will not do what it needs to do. I’ve mixed the dough by hand and with the stand mixer. Both are ok. The mixer is just faster and easier.
When scooping up the flour in a measuring cup, don’t be tempted to pack it in. Just let it be and then swipe off the excess to level the flour in the measuring cup. Trust me, it works best that way.
Make sure you don’t skimp on the yeast. I did that the first time by mistake and it just won’t rise to where it needs to be. One more thing, the dough will continue to rise as it’s baking. It’s fun to watch.
What I loved about this homemade whole wheat bread recipe, besides the wonderful aroma of baking bread, is you can mix it up one day and have bread the next, with very little muss or fuss. I actually made all three loaves over the course of a week. The verdict was why would we ever buy bread again. It was that good.
Are there other recipes that are just as easy? You bet. I’ve made the rustic white bread, and oh my goodness it was just as awesome. But that is for another post at another time.
Time to eat…