This recipe contains no white flour, sugar, eggs or dairy.
People sometimes find that hard to believe, probably because most breads sold as "whole wheat" contain some white flour to keep the loaves larger and lighter.
For those who aren't old hands at baking bread, I have gone into a lot of detail with this recipe. Do let me know how it goes for you! Just be sure to heed the instructions that I am adamant about, because these are the ones that matter most when you aren't "cheating" by adding white flour: Don't skimp on the kneading time, and don't add flour to dough or hands while kneading, and not while you're shaping the loaves either. Also, it should go without saying that the fresher your flour, the better.
Also, if this is your first time baking bread, you may want to cut the ingredient measures in half and just make three or four loaves. Still -- knead 15 minutes, and don't add extra flour while doing so or at any other time.
|This is the best toasting bread, ever, when it has sunflower and sesame seeds.|
2 tb salt
4 tb Fermipan instant yeast
20 c whole wheat flour
10 c warm water
2/3 c oil
1/2 c pure maple syrup (or 1/3 c honey)
4 tb lemon juice (if using organic flour; lemon juice is a dough conditioner)
1 c sunflower seeds (optional)
1 c sesame seeds (optional)
Mix dry ingredients, except seeds, in very large bowl. Warm liquids to lukewarm, then mix into dry ingredients. Knead for 15 minutes. Don’t skimp on the kneading, and don’t add flour as you go. Dough will be sticky, which is as it should be. Just keep taking it off your fingers and kneading.
If you're adding the seeds—and you should, they're delicious—add them gradually after the first 15 minutes of kneading. Knead only long enough to spread them through the dough. If you add them at the beginning of the 15-min. kneading process, they are going to rip and tear your dough.
Cover bowl with damp dishtowel and set in a warm place to rise for 1-and-1⁄2 hours. A good place is in your oven with just the oven light on, but put a rolled-up dishtowel in the door so it doesn’t close tightly. A too-warm place isn't good for the first two rises.
At the end of the first rise, gently press air out of dough, cover bowl with damp cloth again, and let rise in oven again for 45 minutes. Grease 6 or 8 loaf pans with margarine or butter. Don’t use oil, as the bread will stick to the pans if you do.
Put a small bowl of warm water on the table or counter. You will be dipping your hands into this as you work with the dough. You will be tempted, and your mother may say, as mine did, "You can't use water! Use flour!" But do not add flour to the dough or put flour on your hands, as this will result in a heavier bread. Spread the water thinly on the table or counter where you will shape dough into loaves. Spread water again, whenever necessary.
Divide dough into 6 (or 8 if you want smaller loaves; the slices are quite filling) equal portions and work with one at a time. Gently flatten dough to get air pockets out, and fold it in on itself, one quarter at a time, from the outer edges to the centre(ish), pressing out the air as you go. Then gently shape the loaf into a round with a flat bottom, using your palms. Set on the counter beneath damp dishtowel and let “rest” for 10 or 15 minutes, until dough flattens a little.
Again, press air pockets out of dough gently. Dough won’t be too thin; around an inch thick. Roll dough into loaf shape from one edge to the other, carefully pressing out air pockets and then tucking the ends under the loaf before setting it into pan. Press dough gently down, if necessary, till each end touches the end of the pan.
Set in warm place, covered with a damp teatowel, to rise for 30 minutes; this is called "proofing" and requires a slightly warmer location. (I put an oven rack on top of the stove, set the oven to 375F, and let the loaves sit there while the oven preheats). Then bake for 45 minutes in centre of oven.
When baked through, loaves will be nicely browned on top, will pop easily out of pans, and will make a sharp sound when you crack the bottoms with your knuckle. Ovens vary; you may wish to bake your bread an extra 10 or 15 minutes, but no more. Remove immediately from pans and cool on rack.
The outside of the loaves will feel cool when the inside is still moist, but the heat and moisture from within will result in a soggy loaf if you put the bread into plastic bags before they’re cool all the way through. Wait at least four hours.
* For detailed instructions and illustrations on baking a variety of delicious breads with only whole grain flours, see The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book.