This recipe is from an old acquaintance from my days in DC. She shared her grandma’s recipe with a group of women from our church and I’ve held onto it since then and it now has become my go-to bread recipe. It not only is super easy and tastes good, it just reminds me of good times with old friends, and isn’t that what recipes and food does? Create memories of good times and god people. So hopefully when you try this (if you try it) you can create your own fond memory. If not, you won’t regret just eating it haha.
6 cups warm water (baby bath temp)
4 T yeast
2/3 c sugar (or honey)
2 t salt
1 T dough enhancer (optional…but recommended)
1 T Vital wheat gluten (optional)
1 T ground millet (optional)
! T ground flax (optional)
12-16 c whole wheat flour
Directions for a standing electric mixer (use dough hook)
Pour water in mixing bowl and add sugar (honey), oil, sat, and optional ingredients. Add 10 cups of flour and mix on low until all the flour is wet. The dough should be quite sticky because the water and flour have not yet absorbed all the way. Stop the mixer and scrape the dough and flour from the sides of the bowl. Then, while mixing on low, add remaining flour a little at a time. It may require u to 4-6 additional cups of flour (I usually stop after adding 3-3 1/2 cups). The dough will vein pulling from the sides of the bowl as more flour i added. Stop adding flour as soon as dough has completely pulled away from the sides of the bowl and the bowl is clean. At this point, turn mixer from low to speed 2 and mix for 8 minutes. This kneads the dough and allows the gluten to develop.
While the dough is mizin, spray counter with cooking spray and/or a lithe canola oil. Spray the bread pans with cooking spray and set aside. When the 8 minutes is up, stop mixing and pull the dough out of the bowl and onto the oil. Let dough rest for 5 minutes on counter. This allows the dough to relax and makes it easer to handle.
**Cut (with large non-serrated knife) or punch dough into 4 or 5 evenly shade parts, depending on how big you want your loaves. Knead (or braid_ each part to form a loaf. Place in medium-sized pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lt dough rise for approximately 30 minutes or until they take the right shape and height. Bake for 25-35 minutes, depending on the oven and altitude. When done, the bread should be golden brown and your ouse will smell like heaven. Immediately remove bread from pans and set on cooling racks. May brush the top with a little butter to make the crust shiny and soft. Try it warm, it’s the best!! Let the bread cool completely before putting in bags to avoid sweating of the bread.
Directions for making it by hand
Keep in mind it is easiest to half this recipe when making it by hand. Add all ingredients (water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt, optional ingredients) and 5 cups of flour in a large bowl. With a wooden (sturdy) spoon, stir well until mixed together. Begin adding more flour, a little at a time. Sprinkle over dough and stir in. When it becomes too difficult to stir, spray coiner with cooking spray and dump dough onto surface. By hand, knead additional four into dough until the dough is tacky to the touch, not sticky. hone yo poke the dough, it shouldn’t come away on your finger. If it does, keep adding flour, but don’t overdo it. When dough reaches the right texture, plea in a greased bowl, with plastic wrap on the top. Let dough rise until double in size (about 1 hour). Remove plastic wrap, punch dough down into the bowl a few times, re-cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to double in size again (about 1 hour). When dough has risen, dump onto greased counter top. See the *asterisk* above in the section about making bread with a standing mixer and follow the directions to the end to complete the bread by hand. Take note that when having the recipe, the dough will make 2 medium-sized loaves or 3 small loaves.
-If using a KitchenAid mixer, half the recipe. The motor on the KitchenAid cannot handle this large of a batch (unless you have a pro mixer, I used mine and it did fine).
-Sometimes the recipe requires more flour if the wheat is ground right before. Also the bread usually rises faster because the flour is warm.
-The recipe makes enough dough to fit 2 8-cup loaf pans, 4 4-cup loaf pans, or 8 2-cu- loaf pans.
Hints for better bread making
-oil added to the dough keeps bread soft and keeps it from drying out.
-Lecithin helps preserve breads
-Dough enhancer (contains ascorbic acid) or lemon juice gives whole wheat bread a more light texture and is less crumbly (3 T lemon juice per batch of bread). Dough enhancer can improve the texture, taste and crust of the bread. Most of them also act as preservatives which helps keep your bread fresher long. Best of all they are natural and so are perfectly safe to add to your bread.
-Use wheat flour, which has a high protein content for better rising ability. You may also add 2 T of vital wheat gluten to increase protein level and aid in rising process.
-Be sure the yeast you are using is fresh and active. If you are not sure test some in water with honey or sugar before adding to dough (1 T yeast to 1 c warm water and 1/2 t honey). Should double in size within 10 minutes. Keep yeast in freezer or fridge after opening.
-Brush a mixture of 1 egg white and 1 t water onto loaves just before baking for a shiny golden brown crust.
-Use vegetable oil on the counter when kneading rather than flour. Too much flour can dry out the bread and make it crumbly.