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We have two food bloggers in this big food loving family. Today I’d like to introduce you to Paul’s son Zephaniah , the author of the blog Bread +Bourbon. He is also a teacher, musician, singer, song writer, baker and lover of good food. Like this delicious cooked to perfection southern fried chicken from his blog Bread+Bourbon. Zeph came to visit from Tennessee a couple of weeks back and we decided to bake together. Since neither one of us had ever made a 100% whole wheat bread, we decided to put our heads together and tackle it. Our collaborative insight on bread baking resulted in a soft delicious whole wheat bread. We discussed each step as we made the dough and came to the realization that the key to soft 100% whole wheat bread is measuring the flour correctly by fluffing it up before placing it in your measuring cup and scraping evenly across to remove access flour and water content. If you want a soft supple whole wheat bread, you first have to have a soft supple whole wheat dough. And the key to that is measuring the flour correctly and the amount of water you add to the dough. Ok, how much water? That will depend on the weather, if it’s hot and humid, less water, if it’s dry more water. If your dough is dense after the rest period, add water, a couple of Tablespoons at a time as you knead the dough until you have a soft, supple, slightly tacky dough. What is tacky? Tacky means the dough will hold on to the board ever so slightly when you lift it up. A tacky texture is always good for any bread dough. Another tip to remember, whole wheat dough can be stubborn when it comes to rising. Put it in a nice warm place and give it the time it needs to rise up. I have a gas oven that is always warm even when it’s not on, that’s where I put my bread to rise, it works beautifully. I hope you enjoy and learn as much as Zeph and I did while making this bread! Hop on over to Bread+Bourbon and say hello to Zephaniah, sharing some comment love to a new blogger is always encouraging! Enjoy!
Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Inspired by King Arthur Flour
1 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water, depending on the weather you’re having at the time you make the bread. ( you can substitute 1/4 of orange juice for 1/4 cup water in the recipe to make whole wheat bread have a tamer whole wheat flavor)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (measure by fluffing flour and leveling off excess)
1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup non fat dried milk
Using a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together ( don’t forget to fluff the flour before measuring). Stir the ingredients until they come together and leave the sides of the bowl. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the bowl covered. In this 30 minute rest time the water is being absorbed by the wheat flour and making the bran soft, making it easier to knead.
After the 30 minute rest time, oil your board and hands to keep the dough from sticking to them. Look at your dough…is it soft and supple …slightly tacky? If so, knead for about 10 minutes. You could add a little flour while needing if the dough is sticky to make it tacky. If it looks dense, start adding water, a couple Tablespoons at a time while you knead the dough till you have a soft, supple slightly tacky dough.
Grease a large bowl, turn the dough in the bowl so all sides have a little oil on them. Let the dough rise for 1 or 2 hours until it is puffy. It may not double in size.
Put your risen dough on an oiled board and shape it into a loaf ,put it into an 8 inch greased loaf pan. Grease a strip of plastic wrap and cover the dough with it. Let the bread rise till it comes above the baking pan about an inch, this could take an hour or two ( probably 2, remember whole wheat dough is stubborn) depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Towards the end of the rise , preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Carefully remove the plastic wrap. Bake the dough for 20 minutes, then tent it with a piece of aluminum foil to keep it from over browning. Bake for the remaining 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven, you may have to run a butter knife around the sides to loosen it and turn it out onto a cooling rack. Brush with butter if desired to make a nice soft top crust.