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Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients


- Whole wheat flour, 13.2 ounces (I get more consistent results by
weighing it, as opposed to using cups, but it's roughly 3 cups)
- 1/4 cup sugar (or 3 tbsp honey)
- 2 tsp sugar (for proofing the yeast)
- 1.5 tsp yeast
- 1 cup water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil (I've been using canola for 'mass produced'
bread)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon wheat gluten
- Olive oil for coating dough and bread
- Grease for baking. I use Crisco (I know, I know...)


Instructions

- Mix together the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, the salt and the gluten in a
bowl. Sift well with a whisk.

- Heat your water and put in a container. The container should be big
enough to hold at least 2 cups, because the yeast mixture will rise. Get
the water to where it's very warm, but not scalding. (You don't want to
kill the yeast. Imagine a nice warm bath.) Add the 2 tsp of sugar to the
water, mix until dissolved. Then add the yeast to the water. Mix
vigorously with a fork until the yeast is as well dissolved as possible in
the water. Put the mixture someplace warm for 10 minutes.

- After 10 minutes, take the yeast mixture out. Add it to the flour
mixture. Add the cooking oil to the flour mixture as well. Mix until
sticky, then remove the dough and knead it well for at least 5 minutes.
You may need to sprinkle a little bit of extra flour onto the dough as you
work it, but don't add too much.

- Pour a little bit of olive oil into your mixing bowl. Put the dough ball
into the bowl and roll it around in the olive oil until both the dough and
the bowl are coated.

- Put the dough in a warm, covered place to rise for an hour. My favorite
technique is to fill a pan with boiling water, put the pan into the oven
and then put the dough in near the steaming the pan.

- After an hour, grease your bakeware in preparation for placing the dough.

- Take the dough out, punch it down, knead it back into a compact ball.
Divide the dough into the desired portion sizes for each loaf. For the
church bread, I use 16.75 ounces of dough for each loaf.

- Prior to placing dough in the pan, knead it again. Fold it over itself
several times until it is nice and smooth. Pinch it closed on the bottom,
so that the top is a smooth, unbroken surface. This is essential to
getting a good looking loaf with a smooth top. Transfer the dough to the
greased pan.

- Put the dough back in to rise. If you used the boiling-water-in-a-pan
method, throw out the old water and refill with new boiling water. Let it
rise for 45 minutes.

- After 45 minutes, preheat your oven to 350 (take the dough out of it
first, if you were using the oven as a place to rise the dough. Put it
into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

- Remove the bread from the oven, set the pan on a cooling rack or trivet.
With a brush, coat the top of the bread (while still hot) with a coating
of olive oil.

- Let cool and remove.

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