A reader with three decades of baking experience shares his verson of homemade whole wheat bread.
This holiday season, consider giving the gift of homemade whole wheat bread.
Photo by Michael W. Rickert
I have baked bread for more than 30 years. I developed this recipe to get as much whole wheat as possible into a light, moist bread. I use coarse-ground wheat and high-protein, high-gluten premium whole-wheat flour from Dakota Prairie Organic Flour Co.
The keys to this recipe are the high-protein, high-gluten, whole-wheat flour, the coarse-ground wheat that keeps the bread moist, and the six hours it takes for the dough to rise, absorb the moisture and build a strong yeast.
Rickert’s Homemade Whole-wheat Bread
3 cups coarse-ground wheat
5 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat flour
5 tsp yeast
6 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
5 tsp salt
About 7 to 8 cups white bread flour
First, mix the coarse-ground wheat, whole-wheat flour, yeast and water in a large bowl. Cover and let rise for six hours. Then, stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the white bread flour. Add the white bread flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon until the dough becomes too thick to stir. Now, knead the dough, adding the remainder of the white bread flour.
Next, cover the dough with a towel and let it rise until it doubles—about 1 1/2 hours.
Sprinkle a little white flour on the countertop, then punch down the dough and form five equal loaves. Place one dough loaf on each end of a cookie sheet, and three dough loaves lengthwise in the middle.
Make three cuts in the top of each loaf. Let the loaves rise in a warm place until a dimple made with your finger won’t bounce back.
Last, bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. After baking, place each loaf on a rack and let cool for six hours or more.
Eat one loaf, freeze one loaf and you’ll still have three loaves to give as gifts.
Michael W. Rickert
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