This has been foolproof for me. It has come out perfect every time.
You can make it fatfree with applesauce or use a good oil, such as extra-virgin olive or margarine. Either way it works. I like 3 cups whole grain flour or 2 whole grain + 1 all purpose. This makes a great white bread too, just leave out the gluten.
KING ARTHUR'S CLASSIC SANDWICH BREAD, adapted by Strix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- 3 C Flour (whole wheat, Spelt, all purpose, bread, or
combination such as 2 whole grain + 1 all purpose)
- Vital wheat gluten 1 level-measure Tablespoon per cup of whole
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 C soymilk
- 1/2 C + 1 TB hot water
- 2 TB applesauce, level measure, don't heap it! (or 2-4 TB oil or
- 1 TB sugar (or maple syrup is nice)
- 1 packet active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp instant yeast)
Mix the cold milk with the hot water to make a lukewarm combo. Take a 1/4 Cup of it aside and add it to the yeast and sugar to proof for 10 minutes.
Add the applesauce (or oil/margarine) to the remaining milk/water combo. Whisk together well.
In a large bowl, measure flour (and gluten, if using) and the salt, combine well.
Add the yeast mix to the water/'milk combo. Whisk well, then add it to thet flour and mix till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.
Transfer to a smooth surface and knead 8-10 minutes by hand (or use a mixer with dough hook) till it begins to become smooth and supple. It should bounce back with elasticity when poked with a finger. Do not add more flour.
*you may use a dough mixer or precessor or a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle. *
It should be nice and smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and allow to rise in warm spot till puffy, about 1 hour.
shape into a log and place in a greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-inch loaf bread pan. cover loosely with greased plastic wrap (or it will stick!) and allow to rise 1 hour. It should rise nicely with a nice dome about an inch or more over the rim of the bread pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (depending on your oven. it should be nicely browned) If you have one of those instant read thermometers it will be 190 degrees. I don't use one.
Remove from oven and from pan and cool it on a wire rack, covering it with a towel, before slicing.
Store in a plastic bag, freeze extras to keep fresh since fatfree breads stale quicker. For the bread with fat, it will last longer at room temperature or refrigerated, if you like.
** Note: sometimes, depending on your elevation, location, weather, your kitchen, etc., the amount of flour needed will vary. You do not want to add a lot of flour; however, if your dough is sticking to your hands and coming off onto your hands, add a tablespoon at a time. It should be a moist, but not wet dough **
It's not as hard as it is long! I just try to be as clear as possible. Let me know if you try this and your results. I'd also like to hear your results if you try another bread! Post it!
Good luck. I love making and baking bread. It gets really easy after a while and it gets faster too the more you do it.