Whole Wheat Dough
(makes two medium sized loaves)
- 3 cups water
- 1 tbsp baker’s yeast
- 2 tbsp sweetener
- 1/4 cup good quality oil
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 9-10 cups hard whole wheat flour
- seeds, other flours (opt.)
- Mixing the Sponge
- Rising the Sponge
- Folding in the Oil, Salt, and Extras
- Kneading of the Dough
- Rising and Punching Down
- Shaping Loaves and proofing
- Baking the Loaves
- Storing your Bread
1. Mixing the Sponge
Place 3 cups warm water (90-110 F) in a large bowl
Add sweetener of choice: 2 tbsp., and stir
Beat in 1 cup hard flour
Add Baker’s yeast: 1 tbsp. and stir
Beat in 1 cup hard flour and stir, add a little more flour to make a thick slurry. Unbleached white may be used here, beat this mixture 100 times with gusto.
2. Rising the Sponge
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth using clothes pegs to hold it in place.
Let sit undisturbed in a draft free warmish place for 40-60min., or until foamy and doubled in bulk.
3. Folding in the Oil, Salt, and Extras
Gently stir the sponge down with a folding motion
Add 1/4 cup oil, 2 tsp salt and seeds other flours etc.
Fold together, do not stir or cut dough with spoon
Add hard whole wheat flour, (or part unbleached white) one cup at a time until dough becomes too stiff to work (3-4 cups)
4. Kneading the Dough
Turn dough out onto floured surface; scrape all the dough from sides of bowl
Use extra hard flour as necessary and begin to work dough into one homogeneous ball with hands, kneading and turning as you incorporate more flour into the dough.
Dough should be firm and springy-not dry, not sticky.
Take your bread bowl and oil it well, then gently form your finished dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, oiling the top as you do. Cover and let rise 50-60 min.
5. Punching Down the Dough
release the trapped CO2 by gently punching down into your dough 15-20 times. Cover and let rise 40-50 min. Dough is ready.
6. Shaping the Loaves
Preheat oven to 375°F, prepare bread pans by lightly oiling and flouring.
Use flour only if necessary beyond this point
Turn dough out onto clean work surface and knead gently and form ball, divide in 2.
Oil hands lightly if needed, flatten dough slightly then use both hands to firmly roll dough towards self forming a tight little brick, pinch seam together.
Place loaves seam down into prepared pans and press gently into the corners, flattening the dough slightly as you do.
Let sit 20 min., slit top of loaves diagonally if you wish, place into preheated oven.
7. Baking Your Loaves
Bake your bread 45-55 min. depending on the shape and type of bread. Tops will be shiny golden brown and loaf will resound with a deep, hollow thump when tapped on the bottom. Overdone bread is better than underdone so err on the side of caution.
Remove loaves from pans and cool on a wire rack for two hours
8. Storing Your Bread
Do not wrap bread until completely cooled, seal in plastic bags, can be frozen 4-6 months, freeze 1/2 loaves if on your own and pre-slice them.