Mom Hutton's Whole Wheat Bread
Why I Love This Recipe
The most difficult part of bread baking is waiting for it to rise. Bread is the ultimate comfort food. The kneading process is a way to release frustration, and one ends up with steaming goodness. Worth the effort!
Ingredients You'll Need
2 packages yeast (fast acting yeast will decrease rise time)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup shortening (can also use margarine, butter or oil)
2 1/4 cup warm water (Note: too hot water could harm the yeast and bread will not rise)
6-7 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup soft or melted butter for the top
Dissolve yeast in large bowl in 1/ 2 cup warm water. Stir in sugar, salt, shortening, 2 1/4 cup warm water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour.
Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour (about 2 cups) to make the dough easy to handle. When it gets hard to mix, start kneading.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface (I prefer a large cutting board); knead (fold over and press down several times) until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. During the first 5 minutes of this time add up to 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup at a time. It will mix in as you knead.
Place dough in lightly greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour. (Dough is ready if finger impression remains.) Use this time to grease your pans and clean up; it takes less time when the dough is wet on surfaces.
Punch down the dough; divide in half. Roll each large loaf half into a rectangle (about 18 x 9 inches). For minis make the rectangle the length of the pan by double (i.e. 4 x 8 inches). Roll up, beginning at the short side. Press each end with the side of the hand to seal. Fold the ends under the loaf.
Place seam sides down in two lightly greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 375. Place loaves on a low rack so that the tops of the pans are in the center of the oven. Pans should not touch each other or the sides of the oven. Bake 40 - 45 minutes or until golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped. For minis place on a cookie sheet with lip, not touching each other. Cook minis 30 minutes.
Remove baked bread from pans. Brush loaves with softened butter. Cool on wire rack.
Pairs Well With
Great to make sandwiches with leftovers or with turkey soup.