Basic Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Several friends have asked for my basic whole wheat recipe in recent months, so I decided to put it up here. There's nothing terribly original in this, but we like it. This recipe is for a large mixer like a Bosch which can handle six loaves at once, but you can easily divide it to make fewer loaves with a smaller mixer or by hand. Before I had the large mixer I made bread with a large metal kneading bucket like our foremothers used. Look for one at garage sales and thrift stores.

You'd think I'd be able to make this bread in my sleep as I've been baking this bread (or some variation thereof) for around 20 years. But alas, no. At various times I've left out salt (blah!), dough enhancer (it really does make a difference!) and - most recently - yeast. That one was pretty obvious as the dough sat like a rock in the pans. At that point I threw the six loaves, one of which was a cinnamon loaf, back into my Bosch with some yeast dissolved in water. The lid on my Bosch doesn't fit tightly anymore, so gloppy goo sloshed out for a while, but eventually the yeast/water worked into the dough, and the resulting loaves were just fine, though there was just a hint of cinnamon in each one, reminding me of my stupidity.

Here's the recipe:

6 c. hot tap water
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. honey or 3/4 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. oil
1 T. salt
1/4 c. dough enhancer
1/4 c, yeast
15-17 c. freshly ground whole wheat flour (Prairie Gold is my standard)

1. Make a sponge with all the ingredients EXCEPT only use 6 cups of flour. Add the yeast last, directly on top of the flour as the water temp will be too hot for the yeast to directly mix with. Blend until thoroughly mixed.

2. Let the sponge rest 15 minutes. (This eliminates the usual first rising in most recipes.)

3. Add enough flour so that the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Err on the side of less flour, not more, to obtain a light texture.

4. Knead for about 5 minutes with a machine, or 8 or so if kneading by hand. You will probably have to use more flour if kneading by hand. If kneading by hand, use oil on your kneading surface rather than flour. Dump dough onto counter (spray with oil first), then divide into loaves. Form into loaves, making sure to work each one enough to get the air bubbles out. You can use a rolling pin if you wish.

5. Place dough in greased (sprayed) bread pans, 8"x4". Cover with a cloth and let rise until dough is about 1" over top of pan.

6. Bake in oven, preheated to 350, for about 25 minutes.

7. Remove loaves from pans, and let cool on wire racks with loaves on their sides.
6 Responses
  1. Kim Wagner Says:

    And where would one find dough enhancer?


  2. Kim,
    We make our own:
    2c wheat gluten
    1c. (soy) lecithin granules
    1 T. ginger
    1 T. ascorbic acid powder (vitamin C)


  3. Kim Wagner Says:

    Ok, so where does one buy those things?


  4. Anne Says:

    Kim,
    Look for the ingredients at a natural foods grocery like Bloomingfoods, which is where we buy the ingredients. It does really help with the texture and rising of 100% whole wheat loaves. If you don't have access to gluten and lecithin (the most critical ingred. in the dough enhancer), you can use part white flour and get nice results.


  5. Kim Wagner Says:

    Thanks :) I'm going to our farmer's market which has an Amish stand on Wednesday with a friend hoping that maybe they'll have what I need!


  6. Anne Says:

    They might not have it at the Amish stand, but it wouldn't surprise me if they can tell you where to find the ingredients.