This weekend, I decided to try my hand at something new – making bread! I have wanted to make my own bread for so long, but just never got around to it. After finding a recipe, I decided this would be the weekend! During my bi-weekly grocery trip, I picked up all of my necessary ingredients and made a plan to be executed Saturday afternoon.
I’d found the recipe on one of my favorite recipe sites, Annie’s Eats, and she got the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker. It looked pretty simple, and we love whole wheat bread, so I thought – If this is a success, then goodbye to Nature’s Own! I attached the dough hook to my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and got ready to go!
After combining the ingredients, I covered up my mixer bowl with saran wrap and placed it in the pantry so that it could rise while I took care of things around the house. An hour passed, and lo & behold, I squealed when I saw how big my dough had risen! Being a novice to bread baking and using yeast, it didn’t take much to excite me in that moment! I followed the instructions and divided the dough into 2 pieces, sprayed my pans with canola oil, and placed the dough in my bread pans. I covered them with saran wrap again to let the dough rise a 2nd time. After the 30 minutes passed, according to the recipe, I checked the dough, and it was higher, but not as high as I’d have liked. Being new to bread-making, I assumed that it was similar to a cake – it would rise and grow bigger while baking. I was wrong! My bread stayed the same height as it was when I placed the pans into the oven.
This will make for some very short sandwiches! The only thing I didn’t follow in the recipe was toasting the wheatgerm. I only skipped this step because I didn’t feel like taking the time to do it… although it would have only taken 5-10 minutes. Next time, I will go ahead and toast the wheatgerm.
The bread lacks the softness that I would have hoped it would have. While it is not hard and dense, I would have liked a little more softness to it. I think that I will add a little more honey next time. I also wonder if the recipe would be affected if I added in some ground flax seeds to add some more nutrition!
At any rate, here is the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker!
2-1/3 cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
1½ tablespoons instant yeast
¼ cup honey
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
2½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup (7/8 ounce) rye flour
½ cup toasted wheat germ
3 cups (16½ ounces) whole-wheat flour
2¾ cups (13¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix the water, yeast, honey, butter, and salt with a rubber spatula. Mix in the rye flour, wheat germ, and 1 cup each of the whole-wheat and all-purpose flours.
2. Add the remaining whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, attach the dough hook, and knead at low speed until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Knead just long enough to make sure that the dough is soft and smooth, about 30 seconds.
3. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free area until the dough has doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Gently press down the dough and divide into two equal pieces. Gently press each piece into a rectangle about 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With a long side of the dough facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing down to make sure that the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place each cylinder of dough in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, seam-side down and pressing the dough gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover the shaped dough; let rise until almost doubled in volume, 20 to 30 minutes.
5. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim reads 205 degrees, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer the bread immediately from the baking pans to wire racks; cool to room temperature.