Monday, March 9, 2009

My NEW favorite whole wheat bread recipe!!











Okay...so I thought I could bake a pretty good loaf of whole wheat bread, until... I had my friend Emilies bread & WOW, she put mine to shame! For the longest time we couldn't figure out what the difference was in our bread. Mine was great right out of the oven, but hers was AWESOME out of the oven AND several days later. It was moist, soft & elasticy (is that a word??) like store bought bread. We compared recipes & realized she does three things different. First, her recipe has Vital Wheat Gluten in it, second, she 'sponges' her dough (I will explain this process below), and third she uses special bread pans (not really...just ones that acctually make your bread come out without ripping the sides apart!) These three additions to your homemade bread will make ALL the difference! So...here is the 'secret' recipe:


Emilie's Whole Wheat Bread

Makes 4 8/4 inch loaves

7 cup whole wheat flour (grind your own if you have a wheat grinder)
2/3 cup vital wheat gluten
2 1/2 Tablespoon instant yeast

5 cups hot water (120-130 F)

2 Tablespoon salt
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey or 1 c. sugar (I like honey the best!)
2 1/2 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice

4 1/2-5 cups whole wheat flour

Mix together the first three ingredients in your mixer with a dough hook. Add water all at once and mix for 1 minute; cover and let rest for 10 minutes (this is called sponging). Add salt, oil, honey or sugar, and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute. Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 6-10 minutes until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This makes very soft dough.

Pre-heat oven for 1 minute to lukewarm and turn off. Turn dough onto oiled counter top; divide, shape into loaves place in oiled bread pans. Let rise in warm oven for 10-15 minutes until dough reaches top of pan. Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. This recipe can be halved to make 2 loaves.

*She ONLY uses Bakers Secret 8x4 inch non stick pans (we could only find them at Smith's grocery store, strange enough).

**Another tip..when the dough is put into the bread pans, squish the dough softly into the corners of your bread loaf pans. This will make your bread cook more evenly and not have the large lump in the middle of your loaf.


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71 comments:

Ashlee Simons said...

I am going to try this one! Macey's had Wheat Gluten on sale yesterday and I bought two to try even before I found this. Also I agree I love my Baker's Secret pans. I went and looked to see what mine were after I read what you said they were. I was surprised to see they mine were the same. I fully agree they are the best bread pans have used them for four years now and love them!

AmyGale said...

This may be a stupid question, but what kind of oil do you use?

Nichole said...

I just recently found your site. It's great! Quick question...when your bread rises 10-15 minutes. Do you turn your oven back on and wait for it to preheat before you start your timer for 30 minutes? Or do you start your timer from the time you turn your oven back on? It's probabaly only a 6 minute difference, but it could mean undercooked bread for me :)

Kassy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carrie said...

Question - do you grease or oil the pans? I didn't see that in the recipe.

Thanks!

stacy said...

Is there a difference between instant yeast and regular yeast?

Cheryl said...

I made your bread recipe today, and felt that the 7 cups of flour and the 5 cups of water made quite a stiff dough--and didn't need the additional 5 cups of flour at the end. Could it be a total of 7 cups of flour--2 cups at the beginning for the sponging and then the additional 5 at the end?
CjR

Margail said...

HI there,
This might be an odd question, but I noticed that this recipe only calls for letting it rise once (in the pans) is this correct? You don't need to let it rise in a bowl first?Just wondering, thanks.

Shandra said...

Yes, you are correct. The dough rests (or sponges) for 10 minutes in the bowl and then the only other time it rises is in the bread pans. It is a fairly quick recipe which is nice. If you want a more airy and fluffier bread, feel free to let the dough rise a couple of times. It won't hurt :)

Robin said...

I just received a Bosch (very old) with just 2speeds. After you mix the dough and start to add the remaining flour,
Do you use the low speed or high speed until the dough pulls away from bowl sides. For 6-10minutes?

Thanks
Robin

Shandra said...

I mix and knead my dough on speed one. I usually don't switch it to a higher speed, just out of simplicity and laziness. I am sure if you knead it on a higher speed it would be fine. It is hard to over knead a bread dough..more kneading just makes a softer dough.

Good luck :)

Launi said...

i wish you would answer cheryl's question above, i've been thinking of trying this bread but that does seem like a lot of flour (12 cups?).

Shandra said...

I apologize that I hadn't responded to her comment earlier. I am not sure what happened to Cheryl's dough. I would love to know if she has tried this recipe again. I have made this recipe no less than a hundred times (including today) and the 12 c. is just about perfect. In fact, sometimes I need just a little more than the 12 c. That is not an unusual amount for a basic dough. Most yeast breads will have about two parts flour to one part water. If you are using a more course wheat flour that can sometimes make it so you need a little less flour. If you use white all purpose flour, sometimes you need a little more. Just play with the last 5 cups and see how many exactly you need (elevation and time of year will also make a difference). You just want a soft, but not too sticky dough. The texture of a baby's bottom is what I have heard :)

Hope that helps!

Shandra

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Christy said...

I just tried making this bread recipe today and it was wonderful! I cut it in half for just two loaves, and it turned out perfectly, exactly according to the instructions. Thank you so much for this recipe!

Launi said...

thanks for clarifying, shandra! now i'm not afraid to try it as soon as i can find some vital wheat gluten on a good deal. thanks for all of your hard work!

Sara said...

I ground my hard white wheat today and made this bread. I can't tell you how fabulous it is. If some of you haven't made it, please do. I added 3 tablespoons of Bread Enhancer, even though the lemon juice was in the recipe, but that is all I changed ingredient wise. I did have to bake the loaves 15 minutes longer than advertised to get an interior temperature of the bread to 198-200 degrees to be done. I sprayed my 4 glass pans with Baker's Joy and I oiled the tops of the loaves and flattened them before putting them in the oven to rise. My loaves weren't sufficiently above the bread pan so I let them rise 25 minutes in the oven. When baked, the loaves browned beautifully, except for the bread loaf that had the extra bread pan with hot water sitting over it on the upper rack! (I added a metal bread pan of hot water in the oven when I placed the loaves to rise. I also set a baking stone in the oven and baked the loaves on it because the racks had gotten too hot to to touch which is evidence that your oven is too hot and will kill the yeast.) Note also, the oven temperature should never get so hot as to kill the yeast during the rising of the bread. So check that temperature in the oven before placing the loaves inside. As far as the amount of flour -- It was an exact amount 12 cups in all. I also oiled the counter before the dough out with just my hands to a rectangle. The dough did not need any additional flour. The dough was neither too wet nor too dry. The taste? Just excellent. I'm a white bread "addict" and was new to the concept of grinding your own wheat even though I'm an avid bread maker. I'm a converted wheat berry "addict"now and this bread is even better than the white. It's a winner and now my favorite!

aLiSha said...

Has this recipe ever been made with just regular flour??? Or even half regular flour half wheat?

Shandra said...

I have made this recipe just about every way you can imagine and each time it comes out perfectly. The only difference is if you are using white flour you will need a little more than what is called for. Just add enough flour so that the dough is pliable and soft, but not sticky.

Good luck to you!

Paul and Julie said...

This is the first whole wheat bread recipe that I have been happy with. The bread is delicious and, like you mentioned, it magically stays soft for days!

Amanda said...

Made this and whole family loved it! I don't have a heavy duty mixer so after about a minute of beating with all of the ingredients it pulled the beaters out of the mixer. And I was only making a half batch. So I oiled my countertop and kneaded it for 5-10 minutes. It did stick to my hands quite a bit. Still totally worth the extra effort. I am going to try to quarter the recipe to see how it turns out. We are a 3 person family so it isn't that big of a deal to make a bunch at once.

abrounds said...

For those without any stand mixer at all what would be the suggested kneading time?

The Mangelson Family said...

This is a little off topic, but I noticed in your picture that you use a KitchenAid Pro 600 stand mixer to make this bread. I just ordered one and was wondering how it does with making that much bread at one time. Do you like the Pro 600?

Shandra said...

Since this picture I have sold my Kitchen Aid (because it couldn't handle large loaves--10 c. of flour seemed to be it's max). I have now bought a Bosch Mixer and (sadly) love it a lot more than my Kitchen Aid. You will love your Kitchen Aid as long as you don't do huge batches of things like I like to do. Both are great machines, just different ;)

Mandi said...

Could this be made in the bread machine?

Shandra said...

I have never made this recipe in a bread machine but you should be able to. I am not sure how you sponge the dough and let it rise the certain length of time, but it should work. Just 1/2 or 1/4 the batch so you don't have too much dough. This recipe makes 4-5 loaves of bread so you would need to cut it back quite a bit. Let me know if it works. ;) Good luck!

Jennifer said...

Made this today and it turned out well, but I think it was because I make so much bread anyway. I halved the recipe and definitely didn't need the last half cup of flour. My sponge didn't look anything like that after 10 minutes even though my yeast is good and the water was the right temperature. I'm pretty sure it would be better to add the honey to the sponge so the yeast has food. I ended up mixing up the dough and doing a standard rise-until-doubled-in-size and then form it into the pans for another 30 minute rise before baking. The flavor is really great, but something went screwy in the beginning.

Cyd said...

I was sad when my dough didn't rise today. I wondered if maybe the "steaming hot water" called for killed my yeast. I've always thought the temp of your water should be lukewarm but followed your directions of using hot water.

Shandra said...

Cyd,

I am sorry! I hate when I make bread and it doesn't turn out. I took out the word 'steaming' out of the recipe. I think steaming seems to be a more descriptive word for 'hot' water than it needed to be. 120-130 degrees is HOT water, but not steaming (almost boiling) water. You want the water hot, but not so hot it kills the yeast. I am guessing your water was too hot and it killed the yeast. I have made bread with water up to 150 degrees and it still works. Perhaps yours could have been even hotter than that. I have done a test and at 160-170 degrees the yeast dies. I am sorry. Don't give up! This recipe is one of the best, so it's worth trying again. I just made it today and I kept the water on hot for 1-2 minutes and then I used the water from the tap. It was hot, but not too hot. It worked perfectly. Hope yours turns out better next time ;)

Jen said...

Are the metal pans you suggested better than stoneware loaf pans, like Pampered Chef? Has anyone tried both?

Shandra said...

I have never used stoneware loaf pans, but I have not had great luck with those when baking other bread items. My bread tends to stick to them too easily. The nice thing about these metal pans is the bread slides right out. You pretty much don't even have to wash it after. I just take a paper towel and wipe the oil out. They are my favorite pan for this recipe for sure! Good luck. If you try the stoneware I would love to know if it works.

Jennifer said...

I ONLY use stoneware. The trick is to season it well before you use it for bread (like cook meatloaf in it a few times) and then grease it when you use it. I've never had a problem with stoneware and I love that it cooks much more evenly than metal seems to.

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Lisa said...

I made your recipe yesterday and it turned out great. I am new to bread making so its a little stressful knowing its all going like its supposed to. Just wondering if you have the calorie/nutrition info for this recipe.

Shandra said...

I don't..sorry :) If you are worried about calories I have cut back the sugar to 2/3 c. before, the oil to 1/2 c. and the salt to 1 1/2 T. This cuts back a few calories, and the bread still turns our great. Maybe, not quite as light and soft, but still great! Thanks for your comment.

Amy said...

Hi! Another question... I have never made bread before but I do have Kitchen Aid mixer sitting on my counter (for the last 3 years since my wedding and never used!). For the "beating part", am i still using the dough hook or do I need to change out the attachment to beaters or a paddle or something?(I don't even know what attachments I have). Can I use any kind of oil on my counter and in the bread pans?? thanks!

Susi L said...

My husband made this awesome bread for the second time yesterday with very minimal help from me (he was prewarming the oven and I turned it off) and it turned out great - even better than the first time. My husband is no baker but he can execute this recipe very well and the tip to push the dough into the corners was excellent - no large bubble just under a huge dome of crust which we always had before. Thanks for the great recipe.

Shandra said...

Susi--tell your husband nice job on making this recipe all on his own. That is awesome!!

Amy, that is great you have a Kitchen Aid...it's time to use it ;) It will work perfectly with this recipe. Just use the dough hook the entire time while making this recipe. Any vegetable or canola oil will work great on the counter and in the bread. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out ;)

Amy said...

So I did try this recipe today...twice... and it was a colossal failure both times. I halved the recipe since my kitchen aid won't hold the full 12 cups but I don't think that caused any problems. My dough was hard as a rock - so tough it was hard to break into the two loaves. It did rise in the oven to the top of the pan and then almost cooked over. One question... I heated the oven to lukewarm. turned off. then placed then bread like you said for 10-15 minutes... then turned to 350 (which essentially means it took about 7 minutes - of the 30 minute cooking time - to get to the 350 degrees. Is that right?

Anyway, since i had zero ingredients, I spent about $50 buying everything (I even bought the pans recommended) and am now out of gluten and need more flour. I'm willing to try again but I don't want to go bankrupt to figure it out :( Help??? Pretty please?? :)

Amy said...

I forgot to mention that my dough came away from the sides about 1 minute into the 6-10 minute knead time. now that it is out of the oven it isn't too bad. It came right out of the pan (yay!) and has a good flavor. it's not pretty but my 20 month old ate 2 pieces which is always a good sign :)

Shandra said...

Amy,

I am sorry! That is awful that it didn't turn out. If your dough was that stiff it sounds like too much flour. Wheat flour is a little tricky because depending how your wheat grinder grinds flour it could be more coarse than mine, and you would need a little less flour. I grind my flour on the very finest setting so it can be powdery and fine like white flour. I have noticed if I don't grind my flour that fine, it tends to not need as much flour and the dough can get too stiff too quickly. Once you make bread more regularly you will come to know the texture you are looking for for the dough. You want a soft, spongy texture that is still a little sticky. Always wait to add the last cup of flour to the dough until you let it knead for a minute and see if you need it. Bread is kind of temperamental and depending on the moisture in the air and other elevation factors you might not always need that last cup or so.

All I can say is don't give up! I promise this recipe works perfectly every time once you get the hang of it, and learn the texture of the dough you are looking for. I am proud of you for trying homemade bread! It takes all of us awhile to get it just right...but in the end it is so worth it!

Crystal said...

This was hands-down my favorite bread recipe! I loved it! And told everyone about it. ;) But now it's been failing. And I don't know why. I place it in the warm oven and let it rise to the top of the pan, then turn it on, but it doesn't seem like it rises sufficiently after that. It's too short or crumply looking, not beautifully rounded like it used to be. I've tried different yeast. Maybe it's my oven? Crazy that it worked so beautifully for months, and now it doesn't!

Shandra said...

Chrystal,

I am sorry it didn't work out these past times for you! I am not sure what the difference would be. If your yeast is still good, then the only thing I can think is perhaps you are letting it rise a little too long? I find the only time my bread sinks is if I let it rise too high and it falls a little when it bakes. It still will taste good, it just won't be as pretty. Keep trying and let me know what you find works/doesn't work. I am sure that is a common problem for many ;) Thanks!

Shannon said...

This is the first whole wheat bread recipe out of dozens I have tried that actually turned out soft and yummy!!!!! Thank You!!!! You have no idea how excited I am to have found this recipe! My family and I devoured one loaf right after it came out of the oven:)

Anonymous said...

I looked thru all the comments but apparently no one has asked or everyone but me knows...what is the purpose of the vinegar in the recipe. I've never seen that as a bread ingredient before. Can other kinds be subbed for white vinegar ie; cider, basalmic, wine vinegar, etc? Thanks!

Shandra said...

The vinegar is just a different version of adding lemon juice (or acid) in a recipe to keep it moist and gives it a little more leavening. It is the 'cheap' version of dough enhancer. It just helps add extra air bubbles in your bread to help it be lighter and more airy. ;) Great question!

Elliott Broidy said...

It looks delicious yet simple!

Anonymous said...

Thank u it worked well. It was the best whole wheat recipe i have ever tried. I used maple syrup instead of honey. Thanks again!

Celeste said...

I DID IT! I MADE BREAD AND IT DIDN'T DIE OR TURN INTO A BRICK!!! Thank you thank you thank you! I can make you a wedding cake all day, but bread has always been my nemesis. I think that is changing as of now. Thank you so much.

The Bayou Chica said...

I know you said your original recipe did not have wheat gluten, but Emilie's does. I try to minimize the amount of gluten we consume. Can the wheat gluten be left out?

Shandra said...

Yes, you can leave it out. Your bread might not be quite so soft, but it will be just fine. You might need a little extra flour to compensate. Thanks!

Shandra said...

I am so glad you enjoyed it and the bread worked. That is wonderful :) Keep up the great work!

Unknown said...

do you know about how long to cook mini loafs? Thanks

Kimberly Thomas said...

I don't have a clue what happened to mine. I ended up with brown cement. It was so thick, it about broke my kitchenaide. I used all new ingredients so I'm not sure what went wrong. Only thing I changed was the fact that I halved it.

Shandra said...

Kimberly,

I am sorry about that! The only thing I can think is it sounds like way too much flour. Making bread is something that varies from batch to batch and can be slightly different depending on what elevation you live in. YOu only want to add as much flour as will make the dough begin to come away from the edge, but is still very soft and a little sticky. If your dough is too dry you will be bound to have 'cement bricks'. Definetly give this recipe another try. I have made it no less than 100 times and it turns out every time once you get the texture of the dough right ;) Good luck!

Also, about the comment about mini loaves. I would bake them for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. I don't make these often, so just watch it around 20 minutes. Thanks!

Kimberly Thomas said...

Thanks, I'll try it again, this time using less flour.

Pam Sample said...

When you halve the recipe for 2 loaves, do you halve all ingredients including yeast?

Shandra said...

Yes, half the yeast amount too ;)

Pam Sample said...

Made this bread today. Made 2 loaves instead of 4. Kneaded dough in my Kitchenaid mixer and had a hard time getting all the flour mixed in. Had to scrap it several times from the bottom of the bowl to get it all mixed in. It was also too wet but I added flour. Finally got it in the pans and in the oven rising and everything else went perfectly. The bread is really good. Next time I'll use less water and try mixing the last of the flour more thoroughly.

Tamara J said...

Okay, this IS the BEST Whole Wheat Bread recipe ever! Thanks for sharing it again on the blog. My family is spoiled and won't eat store bought bread now. :)

The Heathly Nurse said...

I made this recipe for the first time today and my bread just didn't seem to rise very well. It also didn't seem to cook all the way through. Help! I want this recipe to work so badly! The flavor is awesome but its just so dense and doughy and your crust seemed to brown so much better than mine. Thanks!

Shandra said...

Try using a little less flour in your dough. There are times I use a whole less cup of flour. It just depends on the time of year I make the bread, temperature in the home, etc. Just use enough dough that it is slightly sticky but not hard and dense. You want the dough to be soft and pliable. If the bread does not seem brown enough and cooked through, it's okay to continue baking. Baking time will differ depending if you bake this recipe in 4 loaf pans or 5. I like to put mine in 5 loaf pans and it seems to cook a little better and brown up more nicely.

Hope this helps ;) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Where is the best place to buy the vital wheat gluten? I've been buying it at Maceys, but seem to go through it really quickly. Does someone sell it in a bigger size?
Also, do you use white sugar or brown sugar in place of the honey? I love how it turns out when I make it with honey, but I've tried using white sugar a couple of times and the bread isn't as moist.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I love this bread recipe. I make it every week! It freezes well too. The only thing I have changed is I let it rise longer. The 30 min. baking time is perfect. Maybe for everyone that is having trouble you can make a video so they can see what is supposed to look like with each step...
Thanks for posting this my whole family appreciates it!

Melissa

Shandra said...

I should make a video! Thanks for the idea ;) Now it's just finding the time to do that. I'll work on that. Thanks ;)

Anonymous said...

What if you don't have a kitchen aid to make this bread. Can you do it by hand?

Anonymous said...

Vital wheat gluten is sold in WinCo's bulk foods section. If your store sells bulk foods you should try looking there.

Cassie said...

I'm trying out this recipe and I'm a little confused about the measurements. Does 'T' mean teaspoon or tablespoon? Mine isn't turning out very well and I think I may have misunderstood this.

Shandra said...

Sorry! I will write it out on the recipe. T is for tablespoon and t is for teaspoon :) Thanks

If the bread is too hard or thick, just add less flour. Sometimes I need all five cups at the end and others times 4 cups is plenty. It's strange how it can be different each time. Just start with less and only add the extra cup if needed.

mclaflin said...

Just got my Bosch mixer for Christmas! I have your recipe in the oven now, and it looks and smells great. Do you think I could substitute butter for the oil? I don't always have oil on hand, but butter is a staple!

Shandra said...

Yes, melted butter would work perfectly :)

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