Photos by Gayle Hurmuses and Gisela McKay
This recipe comes from the Deaf Smith Country Cookbook, by Marjorie Winn Ford, Susan Hillyard, and Mary Faulk Kock, and is one of my favourites.
When making truly whole wheat bread, you’re going to have to accept that it’s simply not going to raise to the same degree of fluffiness as white bread.
It’s especially important to make sure to knead it fully without going too far.
One thing that I watch for when kneading, to know when to stop, is when the outer layer of the raw kneaded bread begins to tear, rather than simply stretch.
While you don’t want to under-knead bread, you also don’t want to overdo it either. Gluten is a living thing and gets tired of working, just like you do.
- 2 1/2 Cups Water Warm (about 100ºF)
- 2 Tbsp Dry Active Yeast
- 3 Tbsp Oil
- 4 Tbsp Raw Honey or Unsulfered Molasses
- 6 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/2 Tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Flax Meal To REPLACE one cup of flour
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl.
- Add the oil and molasses.
- Adding it a cup at a time, beat the flour into the liquids with a whisk until it stiffens, switching to a wooden spoon until it becomes firmer, then use your hands.
- Mix well, adding a bit more flour if needed. to keep it from being truly sticky. Ultimately, it will pull away from the sides of the bowl, which will still have some dough sticking to it, but will be mostly clean.
- Knead the dough for 8 - 10 minutes.
- Form the bread into a smooth ball and cover, in the bowl. Note the size of the bread at this time.
- Cover and let rise in a warm, draft free spot, until doubled. This should take about 90 minutes.
- Check to confirm that the loaf has roughly doubled in size.
- Cut the dough into two equal parts to shape into loaves or rolls.
- Shape the loaf by pulling the piece into a rectangle and then folding the edges under.
- Place the loaf into a pan (if you want to put seeds on, this is the time to do it) and cover with a cloth for the final raising.
- For rolls, cut either or both halves of the dough into16 equal pieces. Begin by cutting into 4 equal parts, then each of those into 2, and then cut those again.
- Form each of these pieces into a small ball.
- Place pieces in even rows into an 8" square pan (or if you are making the entire recipe into rolls, put all 32 pieces into a 9" x 13" pan).
- Cover and let raise again for about 1 hour.
- Bake in a preheated oven set to 400º for the first 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 350º and cook for another 20 minutes.
- Take out the rolls about 5 minutes earlier than the loaf.