As I sit here typing this recipe, I can look out the window and see Farmer Bruner bending over to pick day-glow orange pumpkins from the field. I’m still finding smaller pumpkins and squash in the untended remains of our veggie garden. There’s also a softly colored mosaic of leaves covering the ground near the back of the herb garden. No doubt, autumn is in full swing. I suppose that’s why I’m getting requests for more bread recipes. Nothing smells better than a loaf of warm bread taken from the oven and slathered with butter.
Small batch 100% whole wheat bread
For Pete, who wanted a recipe for a single loaf of 100% whole wheat bread. He has my original one for whole wheat bread that makes 2 loaves but he wanted a smaller batch. Make sure you use high quality plain 100% whole wheat flour, not partial whole wheat or anything in between.
1-1/8 cups lukewarm water – start with 1 cup**
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup honey
3 -1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour – I used King Arthur
2 -1/2 teaspoons rapid rise/instant yeast, not regular active yeast
1/4 cup dried milk powder
1 -1/4 teaspoons salt **In summer/humid weather, usually 1 cup is enough. In cold/dry weather you may need the additional 2 tablespoons.
Combine all ingredients and stir until dough starts to leave sides of bowl. For easiest kneading, let dough rest for 20 minutes in bowl; this gives the flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid, and the bran to soften. Transfer to lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary. Transfer to lightly sprayed bowl, cover, and allow to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Transfer to lightly oiled work surface, and shape into 8″ log. Place in lightly sprayed or greased loaf pan, cover loosely with lightly sprayed plastic wrap, and allow to rise 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has raised about 1″ above the rim of the pan.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F. 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 center. Remove from oven, and turn out onto rack to cool. I like to rub hot crust with a stick of butter. Cool and eat.
Tip from Rita’s kitchen: 100% whole wheat is just that, with all of the bran, germ, and endosperm intact. Your body absorbs it slower so you feel fuller longer, plus it has a better glycemic index than white flour.