I love baking my own bread. I started probably about 5 years ago out of sheer desperation to lower my grocery bill. I believe in eating good bread and it can be very expensive at the store. After reading the ingredients on the budget-friendly stuff, I decided there must be a better way so I got out an old cookbook and gave it “the old college try”. It was very successful and the family loved it! So I obsessively continued. Then I got lazy when we moved to our current home where decent bread is affordable so I quit. The other day while I was decluttering my cookbook shelf I found my favorite bread cookbook, Beautiful Breads by Margeaux Sky, and got inspired. I didn’t realize how much I missed it! I even made it a family affair this time and got the kids to help out. The whole wheat bread (which if any of you have ever baked it know it is quite tricky) recipe is the very best. No extra gluten to buy, it rises, and it tastes good. The kids and husband loved it. As a matter of fact as I write this I am baking 2 more loaves. For those of you that don’t own the book, but would love a great whole wheat recipe here it is.
Best Whole Wheat Bread Ever Recipe:
- 2T yeast (or 2packets)
- 5c. warm water
- 2c. warm milk
- 2c warm half and half
- 3/4c packed brown sugar
- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 3/4c honey
- 1 1/2tsp vanilla extract
- 18c whole wheat flour (approximately)
- 3 1/2T salt
- 1 egg
- 2T water
- Generously grease a large bowl and set aside.
- In a VERY large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water, milk, and half and half. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. Add the brown sugar, butter, honey, and vanilla to the yeast mixture and mix well.
- Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. If you’re using a stand mixer, knead for 3 to 4 minutes. If you’re kneading by hand, turn the dough onto a floured countertop or board, and knead for 4 to 7 minutes. Keep the dough moist for a soft, tender bread.
- Place the kneaded dough in the prepared bowl. Place the bowl in a warm, dry place and let the dough rise for 60 minutes.
- Punch down the dough with your fist and divide it into 4 portions.
- Generously butter four 9-inch loaf pans, form the dough into loaves and place them in the pans. Let them rise another 60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Beat together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the dough and bake the loaves for approximately 1 hour.
- Carefully remove a loaf from the pan and tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. If not, continue to bake, checking the loaves every few minutes. When a loaf is done, return it to the pan, remove all pans from the oven, and let them cool for 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and transfer them to a wire rack. Cool for another 30 minutes before slicing.
Please note: This recipe makes 4 loaves and requires a VERY large bowl. I usually underestimate the size of bowl needed for this recipe. My largest bowl, which I thought was VERY large, isn’t big enough. I actually get 6 nice sized loaves out of it to help stretch your pennies a little further!
Now I know that eating carbs is no longer trendy, but I believe there is a reason people have been eating whole grain bread for so long-it really is good for you! But I also believe all things in moderation. I have used a bread machine, but very much prefer to do it the old-fashioned way so I can better stock the pantry for the week. I use good ingredients, but not the most expensive and it really is less expensive than the bread I was buying. I estimated that this recipe costs $3 to make. That is the price of one loaf of “quality” commercial whole grain bread. I highly encourage anyone trying to be self-sustaining or attempting to eat cleaner to bake their own bread. It may seem like a daunting and laborious task at first, but just go ahead and do it once. I don’t think you will be disappointed! What is your favorite type of bread to make or eat?