This is a very altered version of a Cook’s recipe for whole wheat bread. Theirs has wheat germ and rye in it because they were going for a very nutty, wheaty flavor. I prefer a milder bread, so I leave those ingredients out.
Whole wheat bread can sometimes be heavy because whole wheat flour doesn’t have as much gluten as white flour does(gluten helps yeast doughs to rise well). Because of this, I like to use a combination of white and whole wheat flours which helps the end product to be softer and lighter. You can use more whole wheat flour or less according to your preference.
I usually make three loaves of this at a time because three loaf pans can fit comfortably in my oven with plenty of room for air circulation. However, I’m going to post the ingredient amounts for two loaves and you can multiply the recipe according to the number of loaves you wish to make.
I use a stand mixer to make the dough, but you can mix it up by hand if you wish…you just may need to knead the dough a bit longer.
Whole Wheat Bread
2 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter , melted
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
1. Combine 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, the yeast, and the salt in the bowl of a mixer.
2. Add warm water, honey, and melted butter. Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined, then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
3. Mix in the remaining whole wheat flour, and add enough of the white flour to make a kneadable dough(it should still be fairly soft, though).
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic(if you mixed the dough by hand, you may need to knead it a bit longer).
5. Put the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes(an hour if your house is cold).
6. Punch the dough down, divide it in half, and roll each half out into a rectangular shape. Starting from the short end, roll each loaf up, and place into a greased 9×5 inch bread pan. The rolling may seem like a fussy step, but it produces a loaf with a better crumb and structure, and it also will make your loaves look better.
7. Cover the loaf with a wet tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled. Here’s mine before rising(sans the tea towel, obviously):
And here it is after rising.
8. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Alternatively, you can insert an instant read thermometer into the long side of the loaf…when it reads 205 degrees, the bread is done. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool before slicing. I highly recommend slathering a warm slice with butter.