If you've never had a thick slice of homemade bread, straight from the oven, slathered with butter (grass-fed, of course!), then you are truly missing out.
I started making bread several years ago, when I began to eliminate all processed foods from my diet. I used organic wheat flour purchased from the grocery store, but later learned to grind wheat berries and make my own flour. The quality and freshness is well worth the extra step.
I start out by grinding 3 cups of hard white wheat berries with 3 cups of the hard red wheat berries, to make a mixed flour. I found that if I used all hard white wheat berries, my bread came out too soft, and if I used all hard red wheat berries, my bread came out too dense. The two together seems to make the bread just right. Grinding the six cups of berries will give you more than six cups of flour. For any flour you have left over after you make your bread, put it in a container and keep it in the freezer. Keeping the extra flour cold will maintain its freshness.
Basic Whole Wheat Bread Recipe:
4 Tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
4 Tablespoons raw honey
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups plus 4 Tablespoons very warm water
6 + cups organic whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons yeast
Makes 2 loaves
For a list of supplies and equipment, go here.
*Note* I like to add only half my flour to start out with and then let the mixture sponge before adding the rest. I do this instead of punching down my dough repeatedly.
In a mixer with a dough hook, mix oil (make sure your coconut oil is a liquid), honey, salt, water, ONLY 3 cups of flour, and yeast. Mix until well blended. Your mixture should be kind of runny, almost like a cake batter. Let this sit with the cover on your mixer or a tea towel across the top of your bowl for 10 minutes.
Next, add in the remaining flour, slowly, while your machine mixes. You may not need the whole 3 cups, what you're looking for is the sides of your bowl to be clean and a soft dough.
Then turn out your dough onto a floured surface, and divide into two loaves. You can put your loaves into oiled pans, or line your pans with parchment paper. I had forgotten the parchment paper when I took this picture, but the later picture shows how I typically line my pans.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cover your loaves with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until double in size. It should take about 30 to 40 minutes. In the summer, my bread rises quickly, in the winter it takes a little longer. I place my loaves on top of the stove which keeps slightly warm as the oven heats up.
Parchment lined pans, and fully risen bread loaves. Carefully place the pans in the center of your oven and let bake for approximately 25 minutes. Your bread should be golden brown on top and sound hollow if you thump it. Just don't thump too hard. ;)
Let the bread cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan, the paper will slide right out, and peel right off of your loaves. I then let my loaves fully cool on a cooling rack. That is if there is any left to cool.
As difficult as it is to sit and watch your bread cool off while holding a knife and grass-fed butter in your hands.......be patient, if you cut it too soon, the bread will squish, tear up, and fall apart. I promise, it's well worth the wait!