We've brought back in some baker's yeast to our cooking at home with no adverse muck. So, I thought I would share a GREAT recipe that I've concocted for whole wheat bread, that I really think any of you morons could make work (because if this moron can do it ...).
Christine's Whole Wheat Bread For Complete Morons
2 cups warm water (warm like a pleasant bath - not hot like a hot tub!)
2/3 cup honey
2 packages of Hodgson Mill's yeast for whole grains (if you can't find that, just get some double acting yeast - but their stuff helps out with the moron factor!)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup canola oil
6 cups whole wheat flour
Turn on your oven light (sounds weird, I know, but just do it!). Pour the warm water into a large bowl. Add the honey and stir it well until the honey mixes with the water (be sure and get all the honey that has stuck to the bottom of the bowl mixed in!). Add the two packages of yeast and stir it a bit. Then, put the bowl into your oven. The oven light keeps it at about a perfect 80 degrees in there. Yeast loves warmth - not hot tub HOT - but warmth.
In about ten minutes there will be a creamy foam all over the top. Congratulations! That's called "proofing." You just did a baking sort of thing. Not so much a moron, now, are you?
Pull the bowl out of the oven. Add the salt and oil and stir it up some more. Then, add the flour, one cup at a time. Add a cup, then stir until it looks like it is evenly "mixed up." Just keep doing that until you have added all six cups.
Now, you get to knead! Don't be scared. It's really not a big deal, and you'll be able to say that you've had your upper body workout for the day.
I like to clean off my little kitchen table to do my kneading. I keep my bag of flour right there with me. Set a timer for about 12 minutes (or make sure you'll actually keep your eye on the clock). Sprinkle flour on the table and dump your dough onto that area (keep your bowl handy - you'll need it again in a few minutes). In the beginning, it will be sticky and gloppy. Don't freak. It's supposed to be that way.
Click HERE for a great example how to knead dough. To start, sprinkle some four on the top of the dough, as well, so it doesn't stick to every inch of your hands! Basically, just keep folding it over and mashing/rolling it with the bottom of your palms. You turn it between "kneads." Watch the video, and you'll get the idea. As it gets sticky, sprinkle more flour underneath and on top. This recipe will turn out just fine by adding more flour (that's just FYI, if you happen to have a bread connoisseur in your life that frowns on such practices - this recipe has a high tolerance for your inner baking ignoramus; it is NOT for connoisseurs!!).
Just keep doing this until your timer goes off. At this point, it will look and feel different, cause you just did something VERY amazing. Wow! Check you out!
Now, it's time for the rising bit. You need to oil your bowl. You can just spray some cooking spray, or use a paper towel to spread and coat the bowl with canola or olive oil. Pick up your dough, and form it into the likeness of a ball, by just tucking the sides up underneath (this does not/will not be perfect - just a ballish shape! Okay?). Then put it in your bowl upside down and roll it around a bit, to coat the ballish shaped part with oil. Then turn it over, so the "tucked under" part is touching the oiled bowl. Wet a dishtowel and wring it out really well. Place the damp dishtowel over the bowl. Place the whole bowl-with-dishtowel assembly back into your nice warm (not HOT) oven that still has the light on. Are you enjoying my grammar today? I knew you would! Stick that preposition in your craw and bake it.
Don't clean off your kneading area yet. You'll just mess it up again.
Go away for an hour. When you come back, you will do a little dance, because your dough will be about double its original size. No. Seriously.
Now you get to "punch down" the dough (another term that really great baking women that make-us-look-like-morons use a lot). Just make a fist and punch down right in the middle of that puffy blob of dough. You can punch hard (thinking of your ex ... or your boss), or give it a softer, slower blow (which I like to do, because I can hear all of that air release, meaning that it actually did rise - I can bake!). Toss the dough back out on your kneading area (remember to sprinkle, sprinkle the flour when sticky). Knead it for just about 3-5 minutes. Set that timer for five minutes if you've already completely forgotten how to knead!
Take a butter knife and cut the dough in half. Start to form each piece into a loaf-type shape. It won't be as big as a loaf of bread. Just make it in the general SHAPE of a loaf. Once you have both of them into their loaf shapes, you can either put them each into their own loaf pan, OR - I prefer to just sprinkle flour onto my baking stone and put them both on there, side by side. You could achieve the same thing on a cookie sheet, I'm sure (of course, don't quote me on that, or hold me personally responsible).
Pop them into your nice warm (not HOT) oven that still has the light on. Leave them for 30 minutes. They will rise some more and look like actual bread that might possibly be sandwich worthy.
Pull them out (the pans or the stones - whatever you're using), and turn the oven onto 350 degrees (you can turn the light off now). After preheating (which just means, wait about five minutes while the oven gets hot), put the loaves back into the oven. Let them bake for 30 minutes. After about ten minutes, invite over anyone you have ever met, because your house will smell SUPER yummy and they'll all be terribly impressed.
When the 30 minutes is up, pull your fresh baked loaves out of the oven and put them on a cooling rack. Don't have a cooling rack? Don't know what the heck a cooling rack is? That's okay. You basically don't want the bottom of them sitting in a pan or on your stone while they're still hot and steamy ... which will equal moist and squishy! Yuck! Just put them somewhere similar to your stove top burners, where some air can get underneath them while they cool. I've even sat mine across the top of a cereal bowl, when my cooling racks were in the dishwasher.
Did you remember to turn off the oven?
Hey, guess what? You just made whole wheat bread, which tastes butt-kickin' delicious. Not only did you bake a yummy loaf from scratch, but it has whole wheat and no refined sugar. YOU'RE AMAZING!!
Photos (in order of use) by Christine, sassandveracity.typepad.com, Sue Kinzelman, Marcin Korzonek, Jelle Boontje