“Who Will Help Me
Make The Bread?”
Christmas is coming and I thought that I would post my favorite bread recipe just in time for the big day. It is an easy recipe and makes the most delicious bread that can be used for everything from warm, buttered slices alongside a plate piled high with casseroles, potatoes, ham and turkey, or for ham or turkey sandwiches, or for French toast early in the morning before presents are tackled. I use this recipe to make hamburger and hot dog buns too. We love this homemade bread so much. And it is good for you too! (how’s that for a ’60′s ad?)
My bread is made with home-ground Prairie Gold, hard, white, Spring wheat, although you can use any flour you like from the store. Sometimes I do use freshly ground, hard, red wheat, but the mild and nutty flavor of the Prairie Gold is just delicious. I grind my wheat on a Lil Ark hand grinder, using stone burrs, that my Mr. Wonderful converted to an electric grinder. Would you like to know just how brilliant he is? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. He replaced the handle with a flywheel that is connected to a larger flywheel by way of an automotive “V” belt. The larger flywheel is connected to the motor of an old trash compactor. The trash compactor gave up the ghost long ago and was compacted itself – minus its motor. Anyway, my Mr. Wonderful housed the motor in a wooden box with a switch on the outside and mounted the entire assembly on a long board. I think that he should have painted the whole thing a deep forest green and added a quiet, gurgling brook type of fountain to give the semblance of an old grist mill, but he insisted that water and electricity don’t mix very well, so my grinder just looks like a plain, wooden box. The nice thing is that if the electricity goes out, my Mr. Wonderful can just unhook the flywheel, add the handle and I am back to hand-grinding by kerosene lamp light.
I know, I know. There are electric mills out there that grind really fast with metal burrs. The best supplier I can recommend can be found at Sonrise Whole Grains where you can also purchase bags and buckets of all kinds of grain. The Bartons are friends and I can vouch for their servant attitude and willingness to help you in any way possible. I do plan on purchasing one of those mills soon to grind the soft, white wheat that I use for biscuits, pie crust and pastry. It tends to gum up my stone burrs. But there is just something about my stone ground flour that makes the bread taste that much more special.
Freshly ground, whole wheat flour must be kept in the refrigerator or freezer once ground. It breaks down quickly at room temperature. I keep my flour in the freezer and then, when I am ready to make bread, take out whatever I need about an hour ahead of time to bring it back to room temperature. I also sift my flour. Many people do not, but I find that if I sift it two or three times, my breads are lighter. Of course, flours bought at the store are pre-sifted. I use my grandmother’s sifter that has the turning handle on the side. In January, I will start carrying this same kind of sifter. The sifters with the squeeze-trigger handles do not work well for the grainier, freshly-ground flours. When sifting, a little of the larger wheat germ is sifted out, but I keep that in a ziploc bag in the frig and sprinkle it on cereal, add it to baked goods or mix with peanut butter for crackers or a sandwich.
I’m sure that is all more information than you wanted, so now for the recipe:
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
1/4 cup honey or sugar (1/8 if you want less sweet taste)
1/2 tbsp salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 egg white
3 1/2 tsp yeast
3/4 cup warm milk or 3/4 cup warm water and 1/3 cup powdered milk
1/4 cup canola oil or melted butter
3 – 3 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp dough enhancer
In a glass container, add a pinch of sugar to 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle yeast over the water. I shake the container a little to force water over the top of the yeast. Allow to “proof” until yeast is bubbly on the surface of the water. I use SAF yeast that can also be purchased from Sonrise Whole Grains It is a fast rising yeast, but you can use any yeast, including the rapid rise variety.
In a mixing bowl, add honey or sugar, salt, egg white and oil and powdered milk if not using warm milk.
Add the proofed yeast/water and 1/4 cup flour or whole wheat flour. Mix on low.
At this point, if using milk, add the 3/4 cup warm milk. (I use the powdered milk and warm water mixture) Add one cup of flour or whole wheat flour and two teaspoons dough enhancer.
Because of my Mr. Wonderful’s tastes, I add one cup of regular, white flour in with the whole wheat at this point and then continue with whole wheat but you can use regular flour all the way through. Mixing the two makes it just a bit lighter than using all whole wheat. However, you may want to use all whole wheat. It is all a matter of preference.
LATER NOTE: I have since found that sifting the fire out of my whole wheat to add lots of air and volume makes all the difference in the world, thus not requiring any white flour. I also use a 1 to 3 ratio of barley flour to whole wheat which just gives it an added punch. I mix the two flours together and then measure out 3 to 3 3/4 cups for the recipe.
Adding 1/2 cup of flour at a time to equal 1-2 cups, continue mixing until the dough is firm but still sticky. This dough does not pull away from the side of the bowl and if it does, it means you have added too much flour. On medium speed and using dough hooks, knead/mix the dough for 8-10 minutes until smooth.
Scrape the dough onto your Oklahoma Pastry Cloth™ and turn to coat all sides with flour.
Gently knead dough to form a smooth ball using the remaining flour.
Pour 1 tbsp olive oil into the bottom of a bowl that is twice the size of the bread ball, and place dough topside down into the oil. Turn the dough back upright so that top is oiled. Cover with a warm, wet towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm, dry place until double – anywhere from an hour to two hours. I like to warm my oven to 150 degrees and then turn it off. I then place the bread dough to rise in my warm oven.
When the dough has doubled, roll it out onto the pastry cloth and pat it out into a thick circle.
Oil hands with olive oil and proceed to roll dough toward you like a jellyroll. Using your hand, seal edges as you roll, pressing down and under the rolled part. Continue oiling hands to do this until it is rolled. Tuck under the edges to form a loaf. Or, if you want to make hamburger buns instead of rolling into a loaf, cut out buns with a large biscuit cutter.
Oil and flour a loaf pan and place loaf into pan. For buns, place them on an oiled and floured cookie sheet. Cover with warm, wet towel and allow to rise until double – anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Hint: If the towel sticks to the dough as you are trying to lift it off after rising, just spray water on the towel and it will lift right up.
This bread has doubled and is ready to go into the oven.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn loaf out onto a rack to cool. I cover my bread with a tea towel to allow it to cool slowly.
Now you are ready to slice your bread! Serve it warm with butter and Griffin’s jams from the OPC Store .
Or grill up a juicy burger to sandwich between a bun.Happy Cooking!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. It is actually a very fast recipe for bread and is light as a feather. Have a wonderful Christmas and here’s hoping that you make special time for those you love!!