This is an easy beginner’s loaf of whole-grain bread. Additional vital wheat gluten is added to give the bread spring and increase the lightness of the loaf.
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 ½ cups of warm water (110F)
- 1 teaspoon organic sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 to 5 cups of whole wheat flour, divided
- ¼ cup of vital wheat gluten
- Proof the yeast: Mix yeast, hot water, and sugar or honey in a 2 cup measuring cup. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Active yeast will bubble up. If your yeast doesn’t bubble then discard and try again with fresh yeast.
- In a mixing bowl add the proofed yeast, butter, and salt. Mix in 3 cups of the whole wheat flour and the ¼ cup of vital wheat gluten. Mix well with a dough hook. This batter will be the consistency of heavy, wet dough. Keep mixing until you see threads forming in the dough. This is the gluten. Once the threads form add 1 cup of flour more. Beat with the dough hook to incorporate well. The dough should be slightly sticky.
- Cover and let rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours at room temperature. As it rises, the dough will dry out as the water in it is absorbed by the flour.
- Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in a small amount of flour, as needed. Less is better than too much.
- Divide dough into two portions. Form two loaves by stretching the dough and tucking under the edges, so that the surface of the dough is smooth on top. Place in two well-buttered bread pans. Cover with a floured towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Place a pan of water in the bottom of the oven during the pre-heat.
- Before you put the bread in the oven, slash the top with a thin, sharp blade, to allow for oven spring. Place the bread pans in the oven and with a spray bottle of water, spritz the wall of the oven, avoiding the oven light. Close the oven door and repeat the spray after 2 minutes, and again after 4 minutes. Now keep the oven door closed and bake for 20 minutes until the loaves are a deep golden brown. Turn off the oven heat but leave the loaves inside the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the bread from the oven and turn out of bread pans onto a cooling rack. Allow cooling for at least an hour before slicing. The bread continues to bake while it is cooling and the crust draws air into the hot loaves, increasing the flavor and complexity of the bread as it cools. Don’t rush the cooling period.
Keywords: whole wheat bread, whole grain bread, bread baking, artisan bread