Thursday, October 13, 2011

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

One of my favorite things in the whole world is dense and chewy whole wheat bread. One of my favorite places to get this is Great Harvest Bread. I have loved their Honey Whole Wheat bread for years! I am not a great baker and I have only made homemade bread a handful of times but I have always wanted to find a recipe that tastes like Great Harvest's Honey Whole Wheat bread. One of the reasons for this is it only has 5 ingredients; 100% freshly ground whole grain wheat, water, yeast, sea salt, and honey. They add NO oil or fat and no dough enhancers! All the ingredients most people have in food storage already. I have been searching for years and I am happy to say I found a recipe tastes just like it**! The best part about this recipe is not how amazing the bread turns out but how easy and quick the recipe is. You will seriously be amazed!

Here is how to make it!

First and foremost to make this bread taste the best you really need to use freshly ground whole grain wheat. This also makes the bread packed with more nutrients because the longer flour is ground the less nutrients it has. I have never tried this recipe with store bought whole wheat flour so I am not sure how it will turn out, if someone wants to try it and let me know then that would be great*! Lucky for me my parents have buckets and buckets of wheat in their food storage and a wheat grinder they said I could use as long as I bring them a loaf of bread whenever I make it. I use Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery "Prairie Gold" wheat. Although I bet that any wheat will due.

3 tablespoons yeast (I use the Red Star Active Dry Yeast you can buy at Costco)
4 cups really warm water
1/2-3/4 cup honey
10-11 1/2 cups whole grain wheat flour (freshly ground if possible)
3 teaspoons sea salt
1/4-1 cup anything else you would like: oats, ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, etc. (I use 1/4 cup ground flax seeds just because I have them)
cooking spray

1. Grind wheat.
2. Add yeast, water, and honey then gently mix.
3. Let rest for 5 minutes until yeast foams.
4. Then add flour, I just add all the flour at once then gently mix with my paddle attachment (I use a KitchenAid stand mixer. Also if you have any leftover freshly ground flour store the remaining flour in the freezer. This helps preserve the nutrients longer.)
5. Then add salt and anything else, if you choose to.
6. Then gently mix again just until the salt or other ingredients are mixed in.
7. Knead for 4-6 minutes. (I use my KitchenAid for this so if you don't have one you might want to knead a little longer.) Now this dough is really sticky and you are going to think that you need to add more flour. Sometimes I have had to add the entire 11 1/2 cups but sometimes I am fine with just 10, however just know that the dough will be very sticky and you only want to add enough flour that the dough barley pulls away from the bowl.
8. Let dough rise for 15 minutes.
9. Spray the back of your hands with cooking spray and punch down the dough really well, I like to actually count to 30 but that is not necessary.
10. Form into loafs, this will make 3 smaller sized loafs. Put into greased loaf pans. I like to make two larger loafs for toast and sandwiches and one smaller loaf for snacking.
11. Let rise in pans for 30 minutes*.
12.Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I like to put a large glass baking dish filled with water on the lower rack.
14. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on a cooling rack.

Detail Instructions With Pictures:

Grind the wheat.

Add yeast, water, and honey to bowl and gently mix. (I use honey from a huge bucket of Honeyville honey that my parents had in their food storage, it is REALLY old but honey never goes bad so I just heated some in the microwave to soften and store it in a mason jar.)
Let sit for 5 minutes until it foams like this...

Add 10 cups of flour.

Add sea salt and other ingredient(s), if desired.

Knead on low for no more than 4 minutes if using a stand mixer, probably longer if kneading by hand. See how sticky it looks, this is what it is suppose to look like. If you are kneading and it looks wet and soggy add more flour 1/2 cup at a time, just until it barley pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Store remaining flour in the freezer.
Let dough rise in the bowl for 15 minutes. It should look like this...
Spray the back of hands with cooking spray and punch down the dough really well. Since the dough is sticky the cooking spray is a must or your hands will just get covered with dough.
Dump out on a lightly floured surface.
I like to spray my knife with cooking spray and cut into three sections then form loafs. Put into greased loaf pans. I like to make one small and two large loafs. As you can tell I am not very good at making the two larger loafs equal sizes yet...

Put loafs into pans.

Put water in large baking dish and put on lower rack of the oven. I have hears that this helps the bread cook better but I don't know. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Let loafs rise for 30 minutes, they should look like this. Once again I know my loafs are not even.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes and dump out of pans and let the loafs cool on a cooling rack. I bumped my pans right before I put them in the oven and the tops on all of them fell! :(

And that's it folks! So easy, so quick, so good for you, and so very delicious!!

Oh and by the way kids love it too! :)

* I have had a few people try making the bread with store bought flour and they say it doesn't turn out as well as using fresh ground flour. It seems like if you use store bought flour you should use less than 10 cups. However, they say that it still turns out really good just not as amazing as it does when you use fresh ground wheat.
* I live in Utah and during the winter the air is very dry and my kitchen is usually cold so I have figured out that if I put my loaf pans in the microwave with a cup of steaming hot water and close the door they rise much better (you don't turn the microwave on, obviously ;) when I do this the loafs rise much quicker so keep an eye on them and don't let them rise too long)
**DISCLAIMER: I am not claiming that this is the Great Harvest Bread exact recipe. However it uses the same ingredients and because of that it tastes practically identical. I don't know what their exact recipe is or the exact method they use to make their bread. However, if you are looking for a recipe that is healthy and tastes like Great Harvest's Honey Whole Wheat Bread then look no further.