Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

I did it!
I did it and then I moon walked across my kitchen with a triumphant fist pump.
I found the perfect sandwich bread recipe.
The perfect whole wheat sandwich bread that is!
It has been a delicious journey through many loaves of bread, but I think I am officially ready to claim this one as a winner for my family.

Parker House Rolls are traditionally fantastic white rolls that are buttery and fluffy and straight up heavenly.
Knowing that they were a winning recipe I decided to give them a go using just whole wheat flour, skipping the rolls and just dumping the whole mound of dough into a bread pan.
Normally taking all the all purpose flour out of a recipe and swapping it with whole wheat, in its entirety, makes a dense, heavy loaf that could easily be used as a weapon to fight off household intruders.

I honestly had no real expectations or hopes when I decided to make this drastic change to the recipe so to say I was shocked when it turned out fabulous is an understatement. 
I jumped, I clapped, I giggled like a love sick teenager. 
Sad that I would get this excited about bread, yes, but the love I have for bread could also be described using the love sick teenager analogy.

I made another loaf just to be sure and it was also wonderful. Then I swapped out 3/4 cups of the whole wheat flour for some multi grain flour and that was awesome too!
I'm kind of thinking that the Parker House Rolls recipe is like the holy grail of all bread recipes. You can do anything to it to change it up but in the end it's always going to be a winner.
You should try it, and let me know if you have as much success with it as I have.
I've even swapped out the sugar for honey! sheesh! I'm telling you! I'm freaky excited about this bread. I feel like the options are limitless!

Whole Wheat Bread
3 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp sugar
1 package (2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup milk
2 3/4 cups whole wheat (bread) flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir warm water, 1 tbsp sugar and yeast together and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Melt 3/4 stick of the butter in a small saucepan and add the milk, warming until room temperature/slightly warm (looking to take the chill off the milk). Pour into a large bowl and add the yeast mixture, remaining 2 tbsp sugar, flour and salt and mix it up either with a wooden spoon or your hands (I prefer my hands... I find it easier to gage if I need more flour or not if I'm elbow deep in the bread making process). 

Dump the dough out onto a clean surface and kneed until it's smooth adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking to the surface you are working on, roughly 5 minutes. Whole wheat bread doughs will not get as smooth as a white dough and you also want them to remain slightly sticky to the touch. If you add enough flour to take away all sticky-ness you're running the risk of adding too much making a dense/dry loaf... just sayin'...

Form the dough into a ball and plop into a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel or cling wrap and set aside until doubled in size, roughly 1 hour.

Once the dough has risen dump it out of the bowl onto a lightly floured surface and give it another quick kneed, I usually only go about 30 seconds or so, and form it into a log. Place in a greased loaf pan, cover once again and allow to raise about another hour or so until doubled in size again.

Preheat oven to 375. Bake the loaf for 35-45 minutes until the top is a nice deep golden colour and the loaf sounds hallow when you tap on it. Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then remove the loaf allowing it to cool on it's side.

It's great warm but if you are hoping to cut it into thin slices allow to cool completely to room temp.

Not sure if it's worth mentioning but I'm kind of old school when it comes to bread making and do it all by hand. I have a stand mixer with a hook but have horrible luck with it as I never seem to get the right consistency and always seem to add too much flour. All that to be said, if you try this recipe and it's no good the first time, try doing it again without the fancy equipment and see if it turns out differently.

I hope you make this and enjoy it as much as I did!
**recipe adapted from the Parker House Roll Recipe found in this book**


Alexandra Rose said...

I am sooo glad I stumbled across this as I have been thinking over the last couple of days I MUST start baking my own bread, I am so sick of seeing the list of stabilisers and high salt content added to the supermarket loaves. Plus I am a whole wheat girl. So YAY I am definately going to try this. I may tinker with the recipe to make it dairy free as I'm intolerant, if you have any ideas or tips I'd love to hear them :-)
Visiting today from Wednesday Social Bzzz x

Erin said...

Looks good. I have a good recipe for ww bread that I like, but it's nigh impossible to slice it for sandwiches. I'll have to try this out!

Jamie said...

Hi I'm a new follower from the I <3 Blogging Hop! That bread looks amazing! I like the name of our blog. :o)

Feel free to stop by my area any time!

For Love of Cupcakes

Veronica said...

Hi I'm new. What a yummy recipe. I've been looking for a great bread recipe. Thanks for sharing. You have some really good ideas.

I'm following now. If your interested please stop by my blog. I share our fun and activities we I do with my kiddos.