This loaf is the one I've been turning out weekly. With a Finnish foreign exchange student in the house, the need for good bread is a serious one! It is a favorite dessert for a Sunday night, warm with a coating of butter and honey, serves as breakfast toast and sandwich bread for the rest of the week. It makes four loaves - so there is always an extra to send home with whomever is here for a play date or to drop off for a neighbor. Whatever doesn't get eaten by Saturday night is fed to the chickens. Don't let the time this takes stop you from trying it. A majority of the effort is made by the living yeast and is tied up in rising time. Don't be intimated by the process - making bread is actually quite easy!
The bread itself is sweetened with molasses which gives it a sweet full flavor. When I'm feeling particularly crazy, I grind wheat berries that we buy in bulk from Wheat Montana (a local farm that supplies all our flour) but whole wheat from the store works fine. Just make sure that you store your whole wheat flour in a tight container in the freezer if you aren't going to grind your own - it goes bad quickly and will make all the effort a waste of your time. This recipe calls for a combination of whole wheat and whole wheat pastry flour. I think it makes for a lighter loaf with all the great flavor of whole wheat. If you don't want to purchase or store so many different kinds of flours, just use 4 cups whole wheat and 4 cups white.
On days like today when everybody is cuddled in and exhausted after a busy weekend of volleyball tournaments, play dates, prom dinners and the aftermath of too little sleep, it is a comfort to have a big bowl of this dough rising on the kitchen counter.
Whole Wheat Molasses BreadThis recipe is loosely based on a recipe from "Too Many Cooks" by Emily Franklin.
- 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
- 3 cups warm water (warm, but not hot)
- 2 Tablespoons softened butter
- 1 cup molasses (I prefer dark)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups of whole wheat flour
- 4 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
- 4 cups of white flour
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit until there is a foamy layer on top of the water. This should take about 5 minutes. While you are waiting, melt the butter in a glass measuring cup and add the molasses. (The butter will make the molasses slide out of the cup beautifully.) Add to the yeast mixture, along with the salt and stir until combined.
You should not need extra flour to get the dough to the right consistency. Along with under kneading the bread, this is probably the biggest mistake that beginning bread makers make. It is the kneading that will result in a smooth dough, not adding more flour. Just keep working it (by hand or with the dough hook) until it is smooth and uniform. TIP: If you spray the top of the dough hook with cooking spray, it will help prevent the dough from creeping up the dough hook while you are kneading.
Let it rise for a couple of hours while you take a nap, clean the chicken coop, or watch a movie.