It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that my husband is the master breadmaker of the two of us. I just don’t have the patience needed to deal with bread, most of the time. But I love homemade bread. And with the renewed vigor of my commitment to traditional food preparations, I thought I’d try to make my own loaf of bread to eat this week. Because eating healthy just isn’t as bad when there are bread-and-butter sandwiches involved.
I used a recipe I got from Passionate Homemaking for soaked whole grain bread, cut it down to my needs, and made a couple of tweaks. I’m going to post the entire process as I experienced it, even though I’ve linked the recipe, since the original recipe is for 4 loaves of bread and plenty of people commented wanting to know how to make less.
Soaked Whole Wheat Bread
Soaked grain mixture:
2-3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup oats
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
2 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. melted ghee
The day before you want bread, mix these together. It’ll take some doing, as there isn’t a whole lot of moisture here, but it should eventually come together into a kind of dry scone-like dough. Cover tightly and leave out at room temperature for 12-24 hours (I did 18).
2 tsp. yeast
3 Tbsp. warm water
dab of honey (maybe 1/2 tsp.?)
Mix this together and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until it gets foamy and alive-looking. Then add this, along with 2 tsp. salt (I use Real Salt) to the dry soaked grain mixture. This will eventually come together into a goopy dough. Add some white or sprouted flour to get into a soft, cohesive mass. Knead more flour into it as you knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until it becomes somewhat smooth and beautiful (the oats and flax will mar the smoothness just a bit). It should feel bouncy.
Retire this lovely lump of dough to a greased-up bowl, rub the top with some of your greasing medium (I used softened ghee), and cover with a damp towel for an hour and a half to rise. It’ll double in size. Then, punch it, flip it, and let it rise again for 45 minutes.
Then, form it into a loaf and put it on it’s final baking destination (I used a 5×9″ loaf pan that was greased and floured) and cover with your damp towel to rise again for 30-45 minutes, or just until doubled in size. About 10 minutes before you want to bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut a slit in your loaf to control where the crust will crack while baking.
Bake at 375 for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees and the loaf is browned and gorgeous. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out and cool on a wire rack. Let it cool for a combined 20 minutes, at least, before slicing. Grit your teeth because you’ve been smelling fresh bread for the last hour. Then, slice off the heel, slather in good quality butter, maybe some honey or jam, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. If you want to keep it longer than a couple days, I recommend slicing it up and freezing it in parchment and aluminum foil.
Makes one loaf.