The other day, I needed bread. I decided it was easier to make homemade bread than to load up and coral three children through a grocery store on not a good's night sleep (and thus, not much patience). In the process, I think I may have finally found my whole wheat bread recipe. (By the way--This is not a 100% whole wheat bread recipe, but a mixture of white flour and whole wheat flour.) I have tried a variety of recipes over the past few years, but haven't been convinced to repeat any of them. This one I liked. The texture was good---not too dense, but with dense enough to support jam. The flavor was great. It is nice to finally have that "go to" whole wheat bread recipe that was missing from my collection.
I did use bread flour for this--we somehow ended up with 3 partially opened and 1 unopened bag of bread flour in our pantry and I wanted to start using it up. It worked just fine.
Whole Wheat Bread
from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
3 - 3 1/2 all purpose flour
1 pkg (1 T) active dry yeast
1 3/4 c water
1/3 c brown sugar
2 T butter
1 1/4 t salt
2 c whole wheat flour
Combine 2 c of all purpose flour and the yeast. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, heat water, sugar, butter, and salt just until warm (you should still be able to comfortably put your finger in the mixture--hotter than that and you will kill the yeast--120 - 140 degrees F) and the butter is melted. Add water mixture to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in whole wheat flour and as much of remaining all-purpose flour as possible.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6- 8 minutes, adding enough additional flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic. Shape into a bowl and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning ball to grease surface. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (1 - 1 1/2 hours). Punch down dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and divide in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape halves in loafs and place in lightly greased 8 x 4 x 2" loaf pans. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 30 - 45 minutes. Bake in preheated 375 degrees oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on wire racks.