Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Why I Love This Recipe
Superior whole wheat bread from King Arthur Flour
Ingredients You'll Need
1 to 1/4 cups lukewarm water (use greater amount in winter or dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or humid climate)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups King Arthur 100% whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in recipe
1/4 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6-8 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") The dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow the dough to rise until puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or until the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.
Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust.
Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
Notes: Molasses produces the darkest loaf; honey a lighter, milder loaf. Using real maple syrup will be more like the honey one, with a faint hint of maple. If you are one who finds the taste of whole wheat somewhat bitter, try substituting 1/4 cup orange juice for 1/4 cup water.