Without a doubt, THIS is the absolute BEST 100% whole wheat bread I’ve ever made.
I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer with the bread hook attachment. And if you don’t have that, you can go totally old school with a big bowl, a wooden spoon, and get a great upper body work out. Sometimes I still make bread that way just to prove to myself that I can.
Easy + Spectacular Whole Wheat Bread
One cup warm water (not too hot)
1/4 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
One packet yeast
1/4 cup agave syrup (honey or molasses works, too)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour, approximately.
One teaspoon sea salt
Mix water and orange juice plus agave in large bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top; stir.
Cover with a cloth for a few minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.
All at once, add, oil, THREE cups of flour, and salt.
With paddle attachment, mix for about three or four minutes. Switch over to the bread hook attachment and knead approximately 8-10 minutes, adding the last 1/2 (or so) cup flour a little at a time.
When the dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the sides, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand until it’s soft and pliable, not sticky.
Oil a bowl for rising, add dough, cover with plastic, and then cover with dishcloth. Let rise until it doubles in size. I like to find a non-drafty location like the oven or on top of a dryer.
When it’s doubled (about two hours), punch down gently and let sit on floured cutting board for a few minutes. Here’s my quick technique for shaping bread for a loaf pan.
Pat the dough into a rectangle — you don’t need to measure or be all OCD about it…
Fold in half. Starting at the folded side, roll into a cigar shape, pinch the edges closed, and pop into a loaf pan.
Try not to use too much extra flour ‘cos that will make it tough and dry.
Let it rise again for about thirty minutes or until the bread rises above the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake about thirty-forty minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t become too brown. You can always cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil the last five minutes or so of baking.
When it’s done, let it cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn the bread onto a rack to finish cooling. Tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingers to see if it gives off a hollow sound. Then you know for sure it’s done.
Does this sound very tedious and time consuming? Just do it a couple of times, and it’ll be come second nature to you.