Alright. You keep being told to store wheat right? But I bet that you’re wondering what the heck to do with it. I do address different ways you can use wheat in a previous article, and one of those ways is obviously bread. Let’s face it. Bread making in our homes is a lost art. I forced myself to learn for three reasons.
1) I knew that if there was an emergency which required me to live off of my food storage, I darn well better learn how to make bread out of all of this wheat I was storing.
2) I needed to find some way to introduce hearty wheat into my diet so that I didn’t put my digestive system into shock when I did start living off of it.
3) Even though I could get away with paying only 99 cents for a loaf of bread occasionally, I knew that if I could make it fresh, it would be sooo much better for me and therefore worth it.
As it turns out, my decision to learn how to make bread was a good choice for other reasons as well.
1) My husband LOVES it, as do the neighbors, my employees, and even me! (Plus, it makes for great gifts)
2) I now have the confidence I need to make it and know that we’ll be just fine surviving on it.
3) I now have a more accurate understanding of what OTHER items I need to have on hand in my food storage. (Go figure. You can’t just make wheat bread with just wheat.)
4) My quest for learning how to make it has led me to develop a KICK BUTT-No-Fail recipe! (I never thought I’d be saying that when it came to bread making!)
So, I’m going to share the recipe with you today. For those of you who are already pros, I dare say that you’ll find some twists that I incorporate that may be helpful to you. And at the very least, you will LOVE the breadsticks idea. For the record, this bread turns out nice and soft even though it’s 100% whole wheat. It’s often been mistaken as “store bought” bread. (When feeding kids that can be a good thing.)
First, let me just share with you—don’t be discouraged by the methods that I use for making my bread just because you may not have them on hand. I have had ALL of my new-fangled luxuries break down at some point and thus have had to make due with good old fashioned elbow grease. I use a Bosch Universal Mixer and a Nutrimill to make this easy bread making. The Bosch does all of my kneading for me, however, I have used my Kitchen Aid mixer instead of my Bosch, but it seemed to be awfully hard on the motor. You’ve got to have one of the heavy-duty Kitchen Aid mixers if you’re going to make bread in it. Otherwise you’ll have to knead the bread the good old fashioned way—by hand. Also, keep in mind that I’m giving you my recipe based on the use of electricity and such. Obviously, that won’t do you much good if your power is out and you’re camping for a while. Don’t worry. If you begin making bread more regularly “in comfort”, then when it comes time to do it under “less than desirable circumstances” you’ll be able to easily adapt, much better than had you never mastered it.
Kellene’s Kick-Butt Wheat Bread (and her famous breadsticks)
6 cups of warm water (How do you know it’s warm enough or not too hot? If it’s warm enough to bathe a baby in without scolding him, then it’s just fine.)
2 T. “Real Salt”
3 T. of Lecithin Granules
(Note: I now substitute just FOUR quarter-sized portions of the liquid lecithin oil for both the coconut oil AND the Lecithin Granules in this recipe. The oil lasts longer, is less expensive, and makes for a more nutritious bread. I just squeeze the oil into the bowl directly, again, just enough to make the size of a quarter, four times.)
2/3 C. Honey
2 ½ T. of Dough Enhancer (I use the Magic Mill brand which you can usually find in the grocery stores, but definitely locate in your specialty kitchen stores. You can also use lemon juice as a dough enhancer)
12 to 16 C. of wheat flour (I grind my own flour for this recipe each time with my Nutrimill—Yes, you can use white flour if you’d like, but you only need to knead the bread about half as long)
2 T. Vital Wheat Gluten (Note: ONLY use wheat gluten if your flour is old or a lesser quality wheat. If you’re using fresh ground wheat or a good quality flour, then you won’t need the wheat gluten.)
Place 9 cups of freshly ground flour in the mixing bowl with the dough hook attached. Then add 6 cups of warm water. Mix on speed level 1 until you’ve got a paste consistency. Turn off the machine and add the yeast, salt, honey, oil, and lecithin granules (and wheat gluten if you’re going to use it). Turn machine back on to speed 1. Begin adding additional cups of flour one cup at a time. As the machine bears down, increase the speed to 2. Continue adding additional flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. I usually use a total of 15 ½ cups of flour.
Note: Here’s the trick. You want to make sure that you do not add too much flour. I like to add just enough so that the dough starts pulling away and that I can handle the dough. This approach, as well as the lecithin granules and dough enhancer, is the reason why my bread turns out so soft. Most folks who make homemade wheat bread add too much flour.
Set your timer and let the Bosch knead the dough for 7 to 8 minutes. Stop the mixer. Add the dough enhancer. Then let the Bosch knead the dough for another 2 minutes (still on Speed 2). Grease your hands and then gently remove all of the dough from the bowl and place it on a greased cutting board in an even rectangular shape. Using a knife, score your dough into 5 evenly spaced sections. Then pinch off each section, form it into an oblong loaf.
Note: Pinch your bread dough, do not tear it. Only score your bread so that you can see the 5 sections. Don’t use the knife to actually cut the sections.
Place the loaf in 4 to 5 greased bread pans or you can use non-stick bread pans, depending on the size of loaves you desire. (I use 5 non-stick bread pans, but I still spray them with “Pam.” They should be about ½ to 2/3 full.) Place the loaves where they will not be blown on by the air conditioning so that they can rise at room temperature. Cover the pans with Saran Wrap to keep them moist as they rise. (I spray the Saran Wrap with “Pam” on the sides that will be on top of the bread to prevent the dough from sticking to the wrap.) Let the dough rise until doubled. This should be approximately 1 ½ inches above the top of the pan. When finished rising, place them in a pre-heated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
When the bread is finished baking, you will be able to tap it lightly on top and have it sound “hollow.” Take the pans out and place them on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Then remove the loaves from the pans and cool on their sides sufficiently prior to storing.
Special Note: This recipe makes great rolls as well! As a special little trick when I’m hosting a party, I take the dough and roll them into small breadsticks (about 4 -5 inches long). Then I dip the “breadstick dough” into melted butter. Then I place them on a big cookie sheet about an inch apart from each other. I then sprinkle McCormick’s Salad Supreme seasoning generously on top of them and bake them at 350 degrees for 13 to 18 minutes. You will LOVE the taste of these bread sticks!
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