Making your own bread can seem like a daunting task. And when bakeries seem to do it so well, it hardly seems worth the effort.
But let me tell you – it’s really not that hard, and it is so worth the effort. Your friends and family will be impressed by your skills before they even cut in to a warm, fresh loaf of whole wheat bread. After that, well, expect some marriage proposals or professions of eternal love.
The key to making the perfect loaf of bread is really the kneading – mixing all the ingredients together and working it well in a stand mixer or by hand to develop the gluten that leads to a chewy, delicious bread. When you poke the dough after kneading, it should spring back gently. This will ensure a dough with a light, springy, chewy interior and a delicious crust.
Whole Wheat Bread – Makes 2 loaves
240g/2 cups whole wheat flour
360g/2 3/4 cups bread flour
6g/3/4 of a tablespoon instant dry yeast*
420g/1 2/3 cups water
14g/1 tablespoon salt
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the water, followed by the salt, then the flours and the yeast.
Mix on low speed to just combine the ingredients then turn to medium-high and beat for 7 to 9 minutes. If mixing by hand, this should take about 10 minutes with a wooden spoon.
Remove the dough from the bowl and let rest, covered, on a floured surface for 25 minutes.
Divide the dough in half (use a knife or bench scraper, do not rip the dough) and form each half in to a round loaf, Slide the ball of dough around on the table to allow the friction to seal the bottom. Let proof an additional 30 to 45 minutes.
Score the top of the dough with a sharp knife – two or three slashes – then bake on 425F for 30 minutes.
*Instant dry yeast is really the best product to use for this and most yeast bread recipes. If you truly can’t find it, you can substitute an equal amount of active dry yeast. If so, warm the water up slightly, add the yeast to that, then let proof for 10 minutes before continuing with the rest of the recipe as stated.