Thursday, July 1, 2010
See Baking 101 for some hints.
4 cups whole wheat flour (King Arthur is my favorite!)
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
4 teaspoons Vital Wheat Gluten (This is in the baking section of any grocery store and is very inexpensive)
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups warm milk (with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar added)
3 tablespoons softened butter
These directions are for mixing and kneading by hand but you can easily use a Kitchen Aid or Cuisinart.
Put all the dry ingredients (Except the yeast) in a large non-metal bowl and whisk.
Mix the warmed milk with the vinegar and sit for a minute to sour. Add the yeast and mix well. Allow this to sit for another minute.Add the honey and mix.
Add this mixture to the dry ingredients along with the butter and mix with a wooden spoon. Do this until it becomes difficult and then start using your hands to mix.
Gather it into a ball and knead on a lightly floured counter until smooth and stretchy like gum, about 15 minutes. Don't worry about how to knead just mush and turn over and fold. You can also pick it up and throw it down, pound it with a rolling pin, just keep it moving!
Now place it in a large oiled bowl (non-metal) and cover with plastic. Keep in a warm place for atleast 3 hours or more. If it rises to the top and you are not ready for it just pop it down and let it rise again. This extra rise will make it even lighter and fluffier!
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter or spray the pan well. Take the dough and form it into a loaf by folding and tucking it under until it forms an oblong loaf. Place it in the pan and push it down, seam side down, to fit. Cover with some loose plastic wrap that has been oiled and allow it rise on top of the preheating oven until it the highest point is 1 inch above the pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, it will sound lightly hollow when pounded.
Take out of pan and cool on rack.
Tip: Wrap the bread a plastic baggie while it is still slightly warm to keep the bread moist longer.