Tuesday, November 5, 2013

betsy's fool proof whole wheat bread

If you can't tell, this loaf of bread was HALL OF FAME and beautiful.  Betsy was so kind to deliver a loaf to us when we had just finished eating some delicious soup.  I had thought to myself how a nice slice of whole wheat bread would've made the meal perfect...and it became perfect!  I enjoyed mine plain because it didn't need anything but my kids topped it off with strawberry jam so this bread became their dessert.

betsy's fool proof whole wheat bread (my friend Betsy B.)
13 to 14 cups hard white whole wheat flour (about 10 cups wheat kernels)
5 1/2 cups hot water (like a hot shower but not hot enough to scald)
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons salt
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup oil (Betsy used extra light olive oil)
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten

Dump in hot water and 7 cups of whole wheat flour and gluten.  Turn on mixer (Kitvhen Aid or Bosch, not hand mixer) for maybe 20 seconds, until mixed.  Turn off mixer.
Add yeast, turn on.  Keep on while you add salt and oil.  Turn off to add honey because it makes a mess otherwise.
Now you have all the ingredients in the mixer, except the rest of the flour.  Let mix for a while, about 5-6 minutes.
Turn off for 10 minutes.  In this step, the wheat is soaking up the liquids, which really helps.
Turn on again and add the rest of the flour.  You want the dough to be elastic, but not super stiff.  Kind of sticky (slightly), about to stretch but not really sticky or really stiff.  Add enough flour to get that consistency and mix for a few more minutes.  Turn mixer off.
Let rise for 1 hour either in the mixer bowl or until you can move it to another bowl.
Pour some olive oil on a clean counter top and hands.  Punch down the dough and divide into loaves- usually 3-4 loaves (see below for guidelines about how much dough to use in different sized pans.
Karate chop each section (to get out bubbles) and form into loaves.  Put in greased bread pans.
Cover with light cloth and let rise for as long as it takes- about 1 more hour.  You want it to be as tall as you want your bread to be.  Make sure your pans are not too close together.  If the loaves rise together and touch each other over the edges of the pan, when you pull them apart to put them in the oven, they will sink.  You need to use a light cloth as in light weight because sometimes if you put on a cloth that's on the heavier side, it sinks into the dough and sticks a little.  It will deflate the bread a little when you pull it off.
When the bread is where you want it, preheat oven to 350.  When oven is ready, carefully place each loaf in the oven.
Bake for 25-35 minutes.  You want it golden brown on top and if you tap it, it sounds hollow.  If you bake it too long it will be too dry.
Use a spatula around edges of pan to separate bread from pan.  Tip out and cool on cooling rack right as it comes out of the oven so the bread does not get soggy (can butter top while hot, if desired).
There are no preservatives in the bread (except a little salt, of course) so unless you plan to eat it within a couple of days, store in fridge.
*The amount of flour you need will vary depending on type of wheat, age of wheat, etc.  Mostly, you'll just add flour until your dough is the right texture.

What Betsy has to say-

Tips and trouble shooting:
Amount of dough per loaf:
This is what I have found works best for my bread loaves:
1) 10.5” x 3.25” bread pan = 2 lbs 6 oz of dough
2) 8.25” x 4.25” bread pan = 2 lbs 3 oz of dough
3) 8.75” x 3.25” bread pan = 1 lb 13/14 oz of dough
4) 5” x 2.5” mini bread pan = 9 – 12 oz of dough
Some possible combinations: 3 - #1s and 1 - #4; 4 - #2; 2 - #1, 1 - #3 and 2 - #4; 9-10 - #4s.
Freezing Bread
After bread has cooled completely I always put one loaf right in the freezer.  I usually just put it in a bread bag (you can buy bread bags from a upscale cooking store) and stick it in the freezer because we use it in the later part of the week.  If you are planning on storing the bread in the freezer for longer then a few days you should also put it in a Ziploc freezer bag.
Remedy for Flat Bread
If your dough rises and flat tops over the edges of the pan (the bread has big ears and a flat head), your dough is probably too runny. Next time add more flour. If bread tastes a little dry, you may have added too much flour.
Rising Dough
A way to test whether the bread has risen long enough is to push lightly on the corner of the dough in the bread pan. If the dough shoots right back out, it’s not ready yet. If you push it and it stays sunken in, then it’s risen too long. If you push the dough in and it comes out a little bit, but leaves a small indentation, then it’s ready to bake.

Kitchen Aid Mixer

With a Kitchen Aid mixer, you may need to mix the dough a little bit longer and use a higher speed than recommended in the Kitchen Aid book. It says not to go over speed 2; however, if you use speed 4 or 5, the bread comes out much nicer.

Cost Benefit

Wheat:            $0.30   Honey:            $0.26
Yeast:              $0.03   Wheat Gluten:$0.08
Canola Oil:     $0.07   Salt:                 $0.03

Total cost per loaf: ~ $0.77

Nutritional Value

Wheat:            1780 cal. and 8 g. fat   Honey: 172 cal.
Yeast:  18 cal.                          Oil:      332 cal. And 40 g. fat

Total per loaf: 2302 calories and 48 g. fat – Bread weighs about 1 lb 10 oz when cooked
Total per 1oz slice: ~ 90 calories and 1.8 g. Fat.

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