Sunday, October 14, 2012

Whole Wheat Homemade Bread Saga (Cont'd)

Okay, I need to update you all on the bread low-down because I found a bread-mate and it's for LIFE! I'm very excited about this recipe. When it came out of the bread machine, with its flakey french-bakery crust and its soft, scrumptious center I wanted to tear around the apartment and tell someone: I FOUND THE BEST HOMEMADE BREAD RECIPE EVER!

Of course I was home alone at the time. But hey, that meant more bread-from-heaven for me to pick at.

I found a new blog I'm going to adore: Peas and Thank You 

She's whole foods, faith-oriented, and adorable. I'm stoked to start hunting down and trying more of her recipes. This bread got us off to a great start.

Her recipe and instructions are all here: Super Soft Whole Grain Bread

If you don't have a bread maker, have no fear. You can still get in on the fun. Browse the comment section and you'll hear from machine-less people who found a way to make it in their ovens. Please have some. It's too good to keep to oneself.

Attempt #1:
My first bread machine loaf, as you know, was a disaster (I used the recipe provided in the owners manual):

Attempt #2: 
The second loaf was pretty good. It had a loaf consistency, which was a conquest in itself. But it was still kind of dense and it didn't stay together very well.

Attempt #3:
My new loaf-love is actually one of the best whole wheat breads I've come across... ever. Why, you ask? Because the grains were soaked (which means the bread is easier to digest), and it absolutely aces taste AND texture.

It's like white bread got a whole wheat makeover. When I eagerly shoved some onto Zach as soon as he walked through the door he said, "Yeah, keep making this one." Coming from Z, that's high praise, let me tell you! :)

It took a couple tries, even with this recipe, to get it right. My first loaf sunk in a bit, but that's because I'm still learning what the perfect bread dough consistency should look like; two rounds of dough were too wet. Most recipes will tell you to check on the dough during the kneading cycle and add more flour or water depending on what it needs. I found this video to help me know what it should look like:

Bread dough visual

The right dough should be round, dry, form a ball easily and not stick to the sides or feel sticky to the touch. Got it.

Mmm. Steamy, fragrant, right out of the oven... :D

Here's how I ended up nailing down the recipe (from reading comments and such, not because I'm a baker extraordinaire... far from it!):
  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour or spelt
  • 1 c spelt or pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp wheat gluten (might be optional)
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil (Still don't know of a way to make bread without oil. Anyone know?)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (dissolved in 1/4 c warm water before adding to dough)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • Approx 1 c (more or less) pastry flour (added during kneading cycle)
Combine all the ingredients except yeast and salt in a bowl. Mix until well combined then plop into bread pan, snap into the machine, and close the cover. Let sit overnight or for 24 hours on the counter. Before baking, add yeast mixture and salt. If using bread machine, set for 2lb loaf, whole wheat setting. If the dough is too wet (which is likely - mine always has been) add additional flour, 1/4 c at a time, to the dough during the second kneading cycle until proper consistency. Wait three hours and be amazed!

Sigh... I need a nap. Too much bread excitement. :)


  1. So I'm looking at bread machines, b/c I would really like to make my own bread. But it seems like all the machines I see on Amazon are made with Teflon. Which machine do you have?

  2. Sadly I too have teflon. We have an Oster brand maker. My parents were so cute in apologizing about it... They shopped around knowing I'm adverse to the stuff, but it seems to be the coating of choice among bread makers.

    You can always get the bread machine to prep, knead and rise your dough and then oven cook it in a non-teflon pan. I don't know how hot it gets in there, but I try not to scratch it and console myself that I'm not constantly eating teflon-cooked foods. There might be an older used model out there or a teflon-free newer one on the market... I just don't know because I didn't shop around for mine.