Fresh, Healthy Wholewheat Bread: How to Guide

You will be delighted with how simple bread making can become. Bread can be ready to eat in as little as 1 1/2 hours!

Ingredients:
– 12 cups wheat berries
– 1 cup olive oil
– 1 cup honey
– 6 cups warm water (115° – 120°)
– 4 tablespoons yeast
– 3 tablespoons salt
– (Optional) 2 tablespoons of golden flaxseed and 2 tablespoons of sesame

Directions:

seeds coarsely ground. This increases nutrition and fiber

Makes: 6 loaves
Preparation time: about 1 hr
Rising and cooking time: about 30 mins

See sections below for further detail on shaping, ingredient tips, raising and techniques. 1. Grind 12 cups of wheat (12 cups of wheat berries is about 18-20 cups of flour)

2. Mix In BoschTM bowl: with the dough hooks and add: honey, oil, warm water, yeast, and the optional ground seeds.

3. Add at a low speed 10 cups of flour and then the salt last.
4. “Sponge” Stop the machine and set a timer for 10 minutes. Put the lid on the bowl

to capture the moisture and warmth of the mixture.

5. Clear the side of the bowl, turn the machine on 1 and continue adding flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Add flour in 1/4 cup increments.

6. Knead on a low speed for 4 to 5 minutes. Let the dough sit for 1 to 2 minutes, then check for gluten development.

a. Press the dough and it will spring back.
b. Dough clings to itself and not you.
c. Dough is translucent when stretched, you can see light through it.

7. De-bubble: This is the fun part! Take the dough out of the bowl by dumping it onto an oiled countertop or large cutting board. (no need to add flour from this point forward) Pick the dough up and slam it down a few times. Slamming the dough helps remove any air bubbles that may have formed.

8. Shape the dough into a large circle. Using kitchen scissors, cut the dough like a pie into 6 equal pieces. Each of these pieces of dough can now be used to make a variety of bread forms. Use a kitchen scale to weigh the dough if you want 6 perfectly equal parts.

9. Rise in a slightly warm oven for about 20 minutes or on the counter for 1 hour.

10. Bake at 350°. Get to know your oven. Some cook hotter and others cooler. Look for golden brown crusts and make a small dent in the bread, if it bounces back, it should be done! However, 1-2 extra minutes won’t hurt. Slightly overcooked bread is better than doughy bread.

  1. focassia bread: 9 to 11 minutes.
  2. rolls/cinnamon rolls: 12 to 14 minutes
  3. burger buns: 15-17 minutes
  4. braided bread: 18-20 minutes
  5. loaves: 21 to 23 minutes.

Shaping the dough:

After forming the dough into a circle, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Now you have the beginnings of a variety of bread forms. 1/6 can become any of the following forms, or any you can dream up! Set aside 5 portions of dough and cover with moist cloth.

– Loaf Bread: simply take 1/6 of the dough and shape it into a long, narrow loaf and place into a prepared (oiled) bread pan. Pat down any remaining air bubbles.

– Cinnamon Rolls: simply roll dough out into a rectangle shape, (at least 10 by 14 inches) then add your favorite ingredients. Lightly coat the entire face of the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with chopped pecans, cinnamon, finely ground coconut and organic raisins. This bread is so good for you, I don’t mind a simple sugar frosting. At our home, we drizzle fresh cinnamon rolls with maple syrup to bypass the traditional sugar coating. Roll up the dough and then use scissors to cut the dough into traditional cinnamon rolls. Place them about a 1/2” apart in a prepared pan

– Focassia Bread: simply roll dough out into a rectangle shape about 10″ x 14″ let the dough rise and then spritz it with olive oil and follow with Italian herbs or a Rosemary herb blend. We serve Focaccia bread with marinara sauce and a salad. This bread is also great dipped in an olive oil/balsamic vinegar/Italian seasoning mixture. You can also try kneading dried tomato bits, chopped onions & garlic into this dough before you roll it out.

– Bread sticks, pretzels, twists: take 1/6th of the dough and make it into a circle. Cut the circle into eight equal portions, each piece can be a bread stick. Simply use your hands to roll the dough into long pieces. Place the dough on a prepared pan or cookie sheet, spritz with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. For pretzels, dip the pretzel in a large bowl of water and then add coarse salt. You may want to lightly knead spices into the bread and then shape them for bread sticks. Cinnamon Twists are just bread sticks that have been lightly coated with olive oil and a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, then twisted and placed on a baking sheet.

– Dinner Rolls: take 1/6th of the dough, form the dough into a circle and then cut it into eight equal portions. Each 8th makes a large dinner roll. Place dinner rolls about 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch apart in your prepared pan.

– Three ball dinner rolls: 1/6 divided into 8 equal portions. Each portion is then divided into three equal parts. Roll the parts to form small balls and then place three balls into each muffin space.

– Pizza Crust: using 1/6th of your dough, spread the dough onto a pizza stone as thin as you like, prick evenly. If you like soft crust, let the dough rise and then bake. If you want crispy crust, do not let the dough rise, prick it and then bake immediately.

– Monkey bread: Use a round cake pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Add maple syrup and pecans or walnuts. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Gently knead raisins into the dough and roll dough into 1” balls and fill the pan with the balls touching. Let it rise and then bake. Turn pan upside down on a platter to serve. Variation: roll each dough ball in a maple syrup mixture and then roll the wet dough in a mixture of cinnamon, finely ground coconut, raisins, and nuts and then place in the pan, prepared with olive oil and syrup as previously instructed. Cooking time may be longer depending on the amount of moist ingredients.

– Braided bread: Divide 1/6 of the dough into three equal pieces. Roll the pieces into long strands and braid your bread. Lightly coat with olive oil and sprinkle with sweet or savory spices.

– Burger buns: Divide 1/6 of your dough into 4 equal parts. Shape into the form of traditional burgers. Rise, bake, cool and cut in half. Press sesame seeds on top if you like.

Letting the dough rise:

Cover and let rise until double in a warm draft-free place. This should take anywhere from 20-40 minutes. Or, preheat your oven, turn it off and place loaves in the warm oven.

If desired, brush olive oil on your loaves for a brown crust. Sprinkle with oat, rye, or whole grain flakes. Sesame or poppy seeds work well too. This makes a beautiful presentation and the flakes or seeds add a delicious ‘toasted’ flavor to the bread.

Tips and Techniques:

First and foremost be sure that your ingredients are fresh and at room temperature. Cold flour that may have been stored in the freezer should be brought to room temperature. Ultimately, your flour should be ground fresh for the maximum amount of nutrition and flavor! (I keep frozen flour or bread for no longer than 1 month)

Almost every time I make my bread, I freeze dinner rolls prior to rising. I simply shape the rolls and place them on an oven-safe dinner plate and put them in the freezer. When I am ready for fresh from the oven bread, I take the plate out of the freezer, let the rolls thaw and rise and then bake them. Delicious and very convenient. If you need the dough to thaw quickly, preheat your oven, turn it off and then put the dough in the oven to warm and rise.

When we are hungry for pizza, we will thaw the same dinner rolls, roll them into individual round pizza crusts, bake them and then add our favorite toppings! You can freeze this dough in its many forms and you will always have a variety of choices on hand. This bread also freezes well after it has baked and cooled completely.

Ingredients for making great bread:

Ingredients will make or break your bread. Always look for organic why possible!

– Extra Virgin, first cold pressed Olive Oil
– Raw, local honey or 100% maple syrup
– SAF professional yeast (trouble free yeast, store in airtight container in freezer) – Hot water 115° to 125° (too hot kills the yeast, too cool won’t activate it)
– Freshly milled, high quality grain
– Sea Salt

Fresh milled flour starts to oxidize immediately and studies have shown that within a few days it can be completely rancid. I use high-gluten hard spring wheat from Montana to get the highest rising bread possible. Extra virgin olive oil or cold-pressed safflower or sunflower are the best oils to use for maximum freshness. Raw honey contains the most nutrients and helps to keep the bread fresher longer. Salt should be unprocessed sea salt. Most salts (including many sea salts) are heat treated and contain free flowing agents such as aluminum or sugar to keep them flowing smoothly.

I do most of my baking with SAF yeast. It’s a professional baker’s yeast that needs no proofing. Proofing is when you add the yeast directly to the water with a pinch of sugar to see if it’s still alive. You can add the SAF yeast directly to the flour instead of proofing it in the liquid. Because it is a highly potent yeast, you use about 1/4 less of it than regular yeast.

As for baking pans, I use stoneware or glass baking pans. Stainless Steel pans are a wonderful choice, as well. Brushing the pan with olive oil mixed with a teaspoon of liquid lecithin works to keep the loaves falling right out of the pans. I do not use pan sprays because they have toxic ingredients and are not good for the environment.

Gluten development:

– Be careful not to add too much flour! In the beginning this is very tempting and easy to do but in the end, you will wind up with a very dense loaf.

– Do not be tempted to over-knead. Because these machines are extremely powerful, it’s very easy to over-knead the dough. If the dough goes from soft to stretchy to big globs that break apart in your hand, then you have most likely over-kneaded the dough. Usually anything over 10 minutes will do this. Be sure to perform the gluten test after about 5-7 minutes of kneading to prevent this from happening. Speed 1 on the BoschTM Universal is sufficient for bread kneading.

– Proper gluten development is important for a high-rising loaf of bread. It’s formed when the protein part of the wheat is kneaded and it becomes stretchy and elongated. The carbon dioxide gas that is formed by the yeast is trapped in the gluten web thus causing the dough to rise. After kneading the dough into a soft and smooth consistency, it should feel rather stretchy instead of sticky. This will take anywhere from 3-9 minutes in an electric mixer to 10-20 minutes by hand.

Denise’s Honey Whole Wheat Bread:

Hand-made bread recipe

In large mixing bowl place:
– 3 cups hot water (115°-125°)
– 1/3 cup honey
– 1/3 cup olive, sunflower, safflower or oil of choice
– 5 cups of flour
– 1 1/2 tablespoons SAF instant yeast
1 Tablespoon dough enhancer (optional, gives a lighter and fluffier texture)

Mix above with a large wooden spoon and then cover and let set until double in size and bubbly. This is called a sponge and will take approximately 15-30 minutes. Then add:

1 T. salt (I use RealsaltTM)
And add enough of the remaining flour until it cleans the sides of the bowl. Touch the dough to see if it needs more flour. If it is wet and sticky, add a bit more flour until it is no longer wet. You want to achieve a smooth and satiny feel to the dough. Don’t add too much flour or you will create a dense loaf.

To begin the process of hand kneading, you should have a large mass of dough in front of you on the countertop that feels moist to the touch but not ‘sticky’. Start by pushing away and pulling forward the dough and then give it a 1⁄4 turn and push and pull again. Continue this process until the dough is smooth and satiny feeling. It should feel rather light and springy to the touch. This could take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the recipe and how vigorous a kneader you are! When you are pushing and pulling, be sure to pull the dough up and over from front to back and back to front

Chocolate Chip Cookies

We were told once that you can’t make healthy cookies or cakes with natural ingredients.  It was too late . . .we took recipes from our past and just exchanged the white flour for whole wheat, the salt for sea salt, the butter substitute with REAL butter and we reduced the sugar and subbed in a natural, mineral rich sugar.  We also use farm fresh eggs and dark cacao chips and the result is delicious and definitely a better for you option than anything we made before.

Yields 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup Organic sugar  (sucanat)
  • 2 organic pastured eggs
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 3 cups freshly milled whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1—9oz pkg organic Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup organic chopped nuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. combine flour, baking soda, sea salt and set aside
  3. cream together sugars and butter until smooth
  4. beat in eggs
  5. add vanilla
  6. blend in flour mixture 
  7. fold in chocolate chips and nuts
  8. drop rounded spoonfuls of batter on prepared baking sheets
  9. bake 9-12 minute or until edges are nicely golden brown (err on the side of undercooking as they will cook a bit more after coming out of the oven)
  10. cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  11. best with a glass of fresh cold milk (straight from a farm!)

Date Nut Cake

Need a little lovely cake that won’t make you feel guilty?  This one rocks and is made without flour or oil.  All you need are fresh medjool dates and a few other simple ingredients.  Add some creative flair and you have something beautiful in less than 30 minutes!

This date log has only 3 ingredients – chopped cashews, mashed dates, and organic shredded coconut.  You can roll it into a log or shape it into any shape you like.  Hearts at Valentines and candy canes for Christmas.  If it is for someone special, you could shape it with their first initial.  Use your imagination and share your ideas please!

Date Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 -2 lbs organic medjool dates (go organic here as dates are HIGHLY sprayed)
  • 1/2 cup – 1 cup chopped cashews
  • 1 cup of shredded organic coconut

Instructions

  1. Slice open dates and remove seeds.  Mash by hand or use a food processor or blender.  You will need to add a little water and mash in small amounts if you use a machine. If you mash by hand just imagine working into a dough, much like play dough.
  2. Put the mashed dates into a bowl or on a cutting board and add in the chopped cashews.  Mix in coconut if you wish.  Finally, shape, sprinkle with shredded coconut, chill and enjoy!
  3. Dark chocolate chips are a good addition or carob chips.

Warm Herb Biscuits

Add warm biscuits and whipped butter (see the post about butter) to almost any meal and you will be delighted.  Something about bread or biscuits fresh from the oven satisfies and rounds out dinner.

IMG_7397

2 1/2 tsp Italian spices OR use the following spices

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. oregano

½ tsp. basil

2-2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 Tbls. Baking powder (aluminum free)

½ tsp. sea salt

½ cup cold unsalted butter

½ cup milk

  1. Combine all dry ingredients
  2. With your hands work in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add milk.
  3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead it about 6 times.
  4. Pat out the dough to a ½-inch thickness.  Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits.
  5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Serve hot or warm.

Cornbread or Corn Muffins

Cornbread or Corn Muffins?  Oh yes!  My mom made these for a dinner recently topped with softened butter.  They disappeared quickly!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups freshly milled corn
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly milled whole wheat flour
  • 6 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups organic milk
  • 6 Tbls olive oil

Instructions

  1. Bake at 400 degrees in oiled muffin pan
  2. Makes 12 muffins – recipe doubles beautifully!

Pumpkin Muffin Tops

Pumpkins muffins or soft cookies or deliciously fast and easy pumpkin cake.

If you like the soft fluffy top of muffins. . this cookie recipe is for you!  They bake beautifully into fluffy muffin tops.  Start your fall with the aroma that only pumpkin and spices can create.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups whole wheat (freshly milled)
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups organic butter
  • 1 cups organic sugar (sucanat)
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) organic Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • add raisins and walnuts if you want. .I left them out recently and they were great!
  • 2 cups organic raisins
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 8oz pkg cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups organic powdered sugar (we regularly grind sucanat in a blender to powder it if we don’t have powdered sugar on hand)
  • 1/4 cup Milk or water
  • Beat butter, vanilla extract in medium mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and milk/water until smooth. Add more milk/water if needed

Instructions

  1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F.
  2. MUFFIN TOPS
  3. COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl. Beat softened butter and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract; beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture at low speed until combined. Stir in raisins and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. I lightly press into rounds.
  4. BAKE for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely. Spread each cookie with frosting. Yields approximately 30 cookies. If you want to speed this process up – pour the mixture into cake pans, approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches thick. Bake for 20 minutes and you can just cut the pieces you want instead of spending time making cookies.

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Slow cooker apple butter will make your entire home smell like autumn. It also makes a great gift for the holidays, or a hostess gifts at Thanksgiving. YUMMO!

Prep time.                Cook time

30 minutes                12 hours.      

6 ½ pounds apples – peeled, cored and sliced

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 

Instructions 

  1. Place the apples in a slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg cloves,salt.
  2. Cook in slow cooker for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
  3. Uncover, then stir in the vanilla and continue cooking uncovered on low for about 2 hours.
  4. Use an immersion blender to purée the apple butter until smooth

Ginger Spice Cake

Love ginger?  This spicy cake is one more of our family favorites.  We’ve been eating this recipe for many years and it’s always a welcome addition in the fall months.  Top it with some fresh whipped cream and relish every bite!

Ginger Spice Cake

Ingredients

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • 3/4 cup milk (you could also use water)
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 6 Tbl.  organic salt free butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (I use 2 tsp.)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (freshly milled)
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 3 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Cardamom(I omit this because I usually don’t have it on hand)
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Cloves
  • To make the glaze:
  • In a small sauce pan warm:
  • 2 Tbl. organic salt free butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • Pour the glaze in a 9×13 in. cake pan then add batter.
  • Cook for 30-45 minutes or until tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in one large mixing bowl.
  2. I usually make a 2nd batch of the maple/butter glaze to put on top when the cake is finished.
  3. This cake is wonderful topped with homemade whipped cream!

Sweet Potato Souffle – Delicious!

Sweet Potato divine.  A favorite from my childhood!  I hope you give this lovely recipe a try.   Sweet potato like you have never tasted before.  Not too sweet with a crunch topping.

Sweet Potato Souffle – Delicious!

Ingredients

  • 4 large sweet potatoes—boil until tender (whole, unpeeled), cool, skin, whip with an electric mixer or blender
  • Add:
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of unrefined sugar (Sucanat or honey)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • Mix butter, sugar and eggs well.  Mix with sweet potatoes
  • NOTE:  if you want to make this ahead of time – pour all of this into a cake pan and store in refrigerator, then add topping (below) when ready to bake
  • Topping for sweet potatoes soufflé
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 cups cornflakes (use a high fiber, natural brand) – place in bread bag & mash, place cornflakes in a bowl then add
  • 1/2 cup Sucanat
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • Mix all, tossing with melted butter

Instructions

  1. Put sweet potatoes in a cake pan, then sprinkle topping on top to cover entire dish.  Bake uncovered 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  If you want to make this ahead of time – keep the topping set aside in the fridge