I’ve tried many bread recipes, but my absolute favorite whole wheat bread recipe is found on the Say Yes blog. The author calls it “Mema’s Whole Wheat Bread,” and it is fantastically light without being too crumbly. Add just a hint of sweetness to combat the bitter flavor I’ve found in so many whole wheat bread recipes, and this makes the perfect loaf.
I’ve had to modify the instructions a little because the weather in Alaska means you have to coax breads extra hard to rise, so I added in a few tips and tricks I’ve learned.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together water, oil, honey, and molasses. I like to use a meat thermometer to make sure the water is between 105° and 115° so that I don’t kill my yeast. I have a tendency to scald the poor things, so the meat thermometer keeps me in check.
Add the yeast, and wait five minutes for the yeast to begin to froth. It should look like the picture below. If you don’t get that nice froth, your yeast is probably dead (scalded again!) and you might need to start over.
Once you’ve got frothy yeast, add the salt and flour. I usually add the first four cups in while stirring with a wooden spoon. If the weather is particularly wet, you might need to add the fifth cup. Your dough will look slightly sticky.
Next, use your dough hook to knead for 8-10 minutes. By the end of the kneading, your dough should be cleaning the sides of the bowl. If not, you need to add more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and split into two even balls. Form into loaves.
Place the loaves in your greased bread pans, cover with a dishtowel, and allow to rise for 1-2 hours. I like to turn my oven on to warm and crack the door open because bread does not like to rise in a cold kitchen.
Once the bread has risen, pop it in the oven at 350° for thirty minutes. Your loaves are done when the top feels crusty and sounds hollow when you flick it.
Perfectly browned! Now wait a few minutes to cut into it for a slice of gorgeously light and yummy bread 🙂