Monday, August 8, 2011

Easy Whole Wheat Bread

I used to think baking bread took a lot of work. With all the kneading, and the waiting, I had myself convinced that it was way easier to just buy a loaf.
Now I think that going to buy bread is a lot of work. I didn't know it would be so easy and simple-- this loaf is made is just a few hours, and requires minimal effort and supervision. While I still love to experiment and make other types and loaves, this one  has become a staple in our breakfast, lunches, and dinners.

Easy Whole Wheat Bread
adapted from Williams Sonoma

-1 1/2 Tablespoon active dry yeast
-Pinch of Brown Sugar
-1 cup warm water
-1 1/2 cups buttermilk
-1/4 cup maple syrup (you could use honey)
-1/4 cup vegetable oil
-2 tsp salt
-3 cups whole-wheat flour
-3 to 4 cups bread flour

1. In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and brown sugar over the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. In a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a big bowl with a big spoon, combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, oil, salt.  Add 2 cups of the whole-wheat flour, and beat on medium -low speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in the yeast mixture and the remaining whole-wheat flour and beat for 1 minute. Beat in the bread flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed, adding bread flour 1 Tablespoon at a time, until smooth but slightly sticky when pressed, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the dough to an oiled deep bowl and turn the dough once to coat it. Cover loosely with wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.

4. Lightly grease two 9-by-5- inch loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide in half and pat each half into a long rectangle. Tightly roll up the dough into a thick log. Roll the laof back and forth with your palms until it is the same length as the pan. Pinch the ends and along the seam to seal. Place the loaf, seam side down, in a prepared pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or towel and let rise about 1 inch above the rim of each pan.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the pan sides, 35-40 minutes. Turn out onto racks and let cool.


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