I had a fun time today making bread with friends. Some of my friends have expressed interest in learning to make bread and this week I finally did something about it. We got together this morning at my house and we started with grinding the wheat and then experienced the process of making bread - which after it was over they realized it's really quite easy and not time consuming to make bread. I can go from start to finish (bread out of the oven) in 1 1/2 hours, with only about 15-20 minutes of my time involved, the rest is rising time and cooking time. Of course our favorite part was eating the bread when it came fresh out of the oven.
Sharing this experience with my friends reinforced how much I love homemade bread and how much I love making it. Later I went over to help Kandis make bread at her house and Kara came too, and despite having spent the morning making bread there wasn't anything I would rather be doing. It felt so great to have a skill that I can share with others. Bread is such a yummy skill to have. Here's my recipe.
Perfect 100% Whole Wheat Bread
4 Cups WW flour
1 Tbls dough enhancer
1 Tbls high gluten flour
2 Tbls instant yeast (SAF brand is best)
Mix the dry ingredients well and then add:
4 Cups water - hot, but not too hot
Mix all together well and then let "sponge" for 15- 20 minutes (sponge= let sit without disturbing)
1 Tbls salt
1/3 Cup honey ( or sugar)
1/3 Cup oil
6-8 Cups WW flour
Add the additional flour one cup at a time until the sides of the bowl are clean and no dough is sticking to the sides. Be careful not to add too much flour - you don't want tough dough.
Knead bread in mixer for 7 minutes.
Make into 4 bread loaves. Let raise for 30 minutes (or until double in size, don't let it rise higher than the sides of the pan, it will rise a bit more while cooking).
Cook at 350 F for 30 minutes.
If you don't want to cook all four loaves at the same time, freeze some of them. After shaping, put in loaf pans and put in the freezer. After they have frozen wrap in plastic wrap. To use, let them thaw and raise and then cook them. I prefer to cook all the bread and after it cools, wrap and freeze some of the loaves and then pull them out an hour or so before needed, or can quite defrost in the microwave.
This dough also makes excellent rolls. I shape the rolls at the same time that I shape the loaves, but I let them rise until the bread is done baking (1 hour total) and then I bake them 15-20 minutes - I put them in as soon as the bread comes out.