Bread is wonderful. It can be eaten as is, or toasted. It can be made into a sandwich, then grilled or broiled. It can be made stuffed or made into French toast. It can be made with plain old white flour, with whole grain flour or a mixture…bread can be dipped, dripped and coated with butter, gravy or cheese sauce. And a loaf “kneads” to be shared! The bread machine is a wonder, isn’t it? Admittedly, I use the dough cycle or pizza dough cycle far more these days, rather than letting the machine do the mixing, kneading and baking.
For The Lover and I, this longer, narrower loaf seems to work better. Besides, I get to put my hands in the dough and there’s something about working bread dough! You can absolutely make this without a bread machine, but I thought it might be helpful to walk through the process for whole wheat bread…you “knead” to know this!
If you read the Flour, Gluten and Yeast posting, it will help explain the bread making process a bit. Basically to make a wonderful loaf of bread, you need flour, yeast, liquid and salt, (sometimes fat and/or eggs) not necessarily in that order! Today, we’re talking about making a basic whole wheat bread. Sweeteners can be white sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar or syrup, and what I’m using today—honey and molasses.
Many times I add 1/4 cup mashed potato flakes into my bread. I like the moisture and texture it gives bread. It isn’t necessary, you can leave it out, but you will probably need to add an additional 2-3 tablespoons of flour, if you do. I always add some dry, powdered milk (there on the right side; that’s potato flakes on the left). It helps make the bread more tender, keep longer and brown better. If you wish to use milk instead of water (potato water is a wonder!), do so, but omit the powdered milk. NOTE: Many bread recipes that include milk will tell you to “scald the milk, then cool to about 110°F.” This is a hold-over from the days before milk was pasteurized. It is completely unnecessary today, if you are using supermarket milk (that has been pasteurized). Just heat the milk to the desired temperature and continue with the recipe.
Fat is a good thing to add to bread, as well. Fat can be butter, different types of oils, bacon grease, rendered duck fat, lard, etc., and don’t forget that eggs (yolks) are both liquid and fat. In this loaf, I used some vegetable oil and I added 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. The nuttiness of the sesame oil plays to the nuttiness of the whole wheat flour. There are those that may make a comment about the nuttiness of the baker, but we’ll just ignore them, okay? Richer breads will rise more slowly, and usually cinnamon rolls will have more fat than dinner rolls and French-type breads will have no fat at all! Fat affects the texture, flavor and keeping qualities of bread.
Even though this is whole wheat bread, I prefer not to make bread entirely out of whole wheat flour. I don’t like the consistency, but if you do, then by all means use all whole wheat flour. Whole grain flours have less gluten than white and the resulting bread is usually heavier, sometimes door-stopper heavier…not good! What will help reduce the heaviness, is the use of vital gluten. Vital gluten is magical stuff when you’re making any whole grain bread or even white bread; it’s available in the health food or baking section of most supermarkets. Remember, a little goes a long way.
Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
- 1 cup + 3 tablespoons very warm water
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (optional)
- 1 large egg (or 2 medium eggs)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons molasses or maple syrup
- 3 tablespoon dry milk powder
- 1/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 cups white flour (all-purpose or bread flour)
- 4 teaspoons vital gluten
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
Put everything into the bread machine pan in the order given, making certain that the yeast is on top of the flour. Set the machine to “dough” cycle.
When the cycle ends, remove the dough and shape into a loaf and place in a well-greased bread pan. Place in a warm spot (the turned-off oven works well) and let raise until almost double in size, about 30-45 minutes. Turn the oven to 350°F. DO NOT REMOVE THE BREAD FROM THE OVEN DURING PREHEATING. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the bread is browned and sounds hollow when gently tapped. Remove from the oven; let stand for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan, place the loaf on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature. It’s ready!
Honey-Whole Wheat Bread Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
I usually use the bread machine to make bread, rather than by hand or with the mixer. I can knead the bread by hand, which I love to do, but the bread machine just does it better. I use the dough cycle, then remove the dough,
shape it, place it in a pan, let it raise and bake it in the oven.
When it comes out of the oven, I will sometimes smear a bit of butter of the crust. It softens the crust just slightly and makes slicing the bread easier.
Timing is everything. Just as I pulled the loaf out of the oven, The Latin Lover returned from the long drive home…hunger, warm bread, butter and cheese…sometimes the planets align perfectly and the world is a good place!