Cooking Adventure: 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Source: King Arthur Flour
Source: King Arthur Flour
I've recently learned two things:
1. It's more cost-effective and time-saving to buy your bricks ready-made at Home Depot. The time that goes into waiting for a brick to rise simply doesn't make home brick-baking a viable large scale production. Although I will say that kneading the brick was quite therapeutic. And the consistency is dense enough to withstand attack by hamster. In the future, however, I will be buying my bricks at the store or looking for alternative methods of construction. For those interested in the process and in very dense whole wheat bricks, the instructions are listed below. I recommend lots of jam.
2. Looking at my blog's audience and traffic pages is a bad indicator of my target population. My most popular post is the one entitled, "Preteen Hormones Invade My Life", solely because of lonely Russian and Japanese Internet users doing Google image searches for "preteen", "preteen girls", and "preteen doggy-style". Really not sure where that last one came from. Perhaps one of these days I will mess with that portion of the Internet with a cleverly written word association post, but for now all I can do is sit back and say: Ewwwwww....
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
- 1/4 cup nonfat dried milk- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
*Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.
1) In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.
5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.