Mom's Best Hearty Wheat Bread

National Festival of Breads Finalist
Jan Galloway, Columbia, MO

I began experimenting with a whole wheat recipe after I fell in love with flaxseed bread that cost $7 a loaf at the local farmers market. The deep molasses flavor really shines through in this bread, which we usually toast and top with butter, peanut butter, honey, or jams. I make this hearty wheat bread about twice a month. As a variation, honey may be substituted.

Prep Time: 4 hours
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 2 loaves, 16 slices each

Ingredients

Starter 

1 cup water 
½ cup unsulfured, mild molasses or honey 
2 tablespoons active dry yeast 

Dough 

4 cups King Arthur Traditional 100% Whole Wheat Flour, divided 
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour 
1 cup milled flax seed 
½ cup nonfat dry milk powder 
2 tablespoons Kosher salt 
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten 
2 cups warm water (100°- 110°F) 
½ cup canola oil 
Butter, softened (optional) 

Instructions

  1. In a two cup measuring cup, measure water. Pour molasses or honey into cup; let settle to bottom. Do not stir. Microwave on HIGH 1 minute; cool to warm (100° to 110°F). Add yeast; stir slightly into water level only. Set aside till yeast reaches top of cup, about 10 minutes. 
  2. In mixer bowl, fitted with dough hook, combine 3 cups whole wheat flour, bread flour, flaxseed, dry milk, salt, and wheat gluten. Mix 1 minute; scraping bottom of bowl with rubber spatula. Place 2 cups water and oil in glass bowl, and microwave to 110°F. 
  3. Stir in 2 cups warm water, oil, and starter. Mix on low speed 8 minutes. 
  4. Sprinkle work surface and hands with whole wheat flour. Knead dough 8 minutes working in enough whole wheat flour to form a smooth and elastic dough. Place dough in oiled bowl; turn to coat. Cover bowl; let rise in a warm place until double. Tip: plug and fill kitchen sink 1/3 full with warm (115°F) water. Place bowl of dough in water. 
  5. Punch down dough, divide in half. Cover; let dough rest while preparing pans. Oil two 9 x 5 x 3-inch bread pans. Shape dough into loaves; place in prepared pans. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 45 to 60 minutes. 
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 45 to 50 minutes. 
  7. Tip: rotate pans half way through baking cycle. Tent with foil last 10 to 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning. (197°-200°F internal temperature). Remove from pans; brush tops of loaves with butter; cool on wire rack. 

Makes 2 loaves, 16 slices each.

Nutrition Information

One slice provides approximately 162 calories; 5 g protein; 25 g carbohydrate; 3 g dietary fiber; 5 g fat (.3 g saturated); .14 mg cholesterol; 39 mcg folate; 2 mg iron and 446 mg sodium.