Another Wheat Bread Recipe
There are as many wheat bread recipes as there are bakers. I have baked some that come out as bricks. Others have so little wheat flour in them that they taste like white bread. So why do we need another?
Because there are always new bakers looking for the “perfect” recipe. Besides, it is fun to work out a recipe to exactly fit your tastes, and it is far simpler to start with a basic recipe and tweak it from there.
This is my contribution. This began as a very basic recipe that I tweaked to the point that I wanted my loaf to be. This recipe produces a relatively light loaf with a nice tight crumb.
A New Perspective on Bread and Nutrition
I feel like wheat and gluten are under a full-scale attack. Gluten just isn’t cool right now. That is unfortunate for the poor soul who would like to lose weight.
When I lost weight 6 years ago, I emphasized a high fiber diet and whole wheat has fiber to spare. Two slices of this bread as a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich has 22% of my daily intake of dietary fiber.
This Honey Wheat Bread makes getting my Recommended Daily Requirement (RDA) an easy task.
Who Knew There Was So Much Iron in Wheat Germ
Wheat germ is an excellent source of dietary iron which comes in two forms, heme and non-heme iron. Most heme iron is found in animal sources such as liver. Heme iron is easily assimilated by our bodies because it was originally hemoglobin in the animal.
However, many people desire to eat a more vegetable based diet and wheat germ is an excellent source of the non-heme dietary iron. Whole grain wheat is a highly nutritious addition to the vegetarian diet.
I also like to cook wheat kernel like rice and use it like a pasta in a pasta salad. The wheat grain takes on the flavor of the vinegars that you use and the wheat provides a pleasant chewiness that I like.
But Don’t Forget the Vitamin C
There is a problem with vegetable-based dietary iron; that is, it is hard to absorb without Vitamin C. My favorite source of Vitamin C is oranges. I like my oranges in every form, except store bought orange juice.
There are a lot of other sources of Vitamin C, such as tomatoes, potatoes (!), broccoli, and red/green peppers. Keep this in mind when planning your meals.
I always pre-measure all of my ingredients before I begin adding anything to a mixing bowl just like they do on the TV. I didn’t use to do this, but I would often leave the butter out of this recipe which changes the bread. Leaving the butter out doesn’t ruin the bread, but it won’t be as soft.
The Dry Ingredients
- 16 1/2 Ounces of Wheat Flour + up to 2 ounces during kneading
- 13 Ounces of All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup of Wheat Germ
- 1 1/2 TSP of Yeast
- 2 1/2 tsp of salt
The Wet Ingredients
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 2 1/3 cups of room temperature water
- 4 TSP of butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine and thoroughly mix dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Combine and thoroughly mix wet ingredients before adding to dry ingredients.
- Turn out on kneading surface and knead dough to the desire elasticity (see Hints below).
- Return kneaded dough to mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise until a little more than doubled in volume. I do this step in the refrigerator which takes about 4-5 hours.
- After dough has risen, form into loaf or loaves. See Hints below.
- Flour a baking sheet and place loaves on sheet. Give loaves an additional dusting of flour. See Hints below.
- Let rise until doubled in volume and slash top with razor blade or knife before placing in oven.
- Bake 25 – 45 minutes depending on the size of loaves that you made. We are looking for an internal temperature of 205 degrees.
- After baking, place on cooling rack.
Hints, Clues, and Useful Tips
Kneading is key to determining the crumb and structure of bread. I knead all of my breads 8 minutes when I am developing a recipe. If you prefer a more open structure, knead the dough less. If you like a tighter structure, knead the bread longer.
If you are a brave baker, make this recipe, and after the initial mixing, divide the dough into 3 parts. Knead one part for 4 minutes. Knead another part for 8 minutes. Knead the last part for 12 minutes. Bake them and compare.
That is the only way that I know to decide how long to knead your bread.
Forming the Loaves
There are so many ways to form bread into loaves. I have several favorite loaves with this dough. I often baked this in my loaf clouche. My wife prefers the bread this way. It looks a little too store-bought for my taste.
My preferred loaves from the dough are the boule and the rustic loaf that you can see in the video. I also like letting these rise in a banneton and baking them in the oven. The bannetons give a unique circular pattern to the loaves.
Make the loaves in the way that you want. Make them suit your purposes.
Using Extra Flour in Forming Your Loaves
Have you ever noticed how much flour is on the outside of a lot of bread at professional bakery? It is all over a lot of those loaves. Why?
Practically, flour lets the loaves slide off of a peel onto the bottom of an oven. It also keeps rising loaves from sticking to their bannetons. Flour is better than greasing a loaf pan at getting a loaf to come out. Try it.
I sometimes use rice flour on loaves going into loaf pans. The rice flour doesn’t absorb moisture the same way as wheat flours which helps high-hydration doughs come out.
But don’t go slinging flour at your bread. Get a fine sifter or strainer to put a nice, even layer of flour down. Too much flour on your baked bread is unpleasant for your eaters.
Second, flour on scored loaves looks fabulous, especially on the darker breads.
Experiment with this aspect of your baking. The results will amaze you.
Enjoy baking. Eat what you bake and don’t be afraid to experiment.