Wheat Bread

23 Dec

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I spent some time in the kitchen one weekend making mini loaves of wheat bread for my department at work. I figure the season is full of unhealthy treats so a semi healthy one is nice. Growing up my mom would make this recipe for my brother and my teachers each Christmas. Like I’ve said before I’m a little bit terrified of recipes that involve yeast, but I’ve made this one for two years now and been 90% successful. I did have a little mishap with too much rising and not enough cooking, but more on that in a minute.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is the scan my mom emailed me when I asked for the recipe last year. The worn condition of the recipe just says it’s going to be good doesn’t it? My mom got this from one of her co-workers probably 30 years ago.

Wheat Bread Recipe

Wheat Bread

Ingredients
2 pkgs. of yeast (I use rapid rise, but be sure to let the bread rise for less time especially once it’s in the pans!)
1/3 c. honey
1 T. salt
1/2 c. shortening
warm water3 c. wheat flour
3-4 c. white flour

Directions

  1. Dissolve 2 pkgs. yeast in 1/2 c. warm water (steaming or 100-110 degrees)
  2. Stir in:
    1/3 c. honey
    1 T. salt
    1/2 c. shortening
    1 3/4 c. warm water
    3 c. wheat flour
  3. Beat until smooth.
  4. Stir in enough white flour (3-4 c.) to make dough easy to handle. (Meaning not sticky. I usually end up dumping the partially mixed mess out onto the counter and mushing it around with my hands to mix in the last bit.)
  5. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). (I keep adding bits of flour while doing this to keep the dough from sticking to my hands and the counter. I get nervous at this point, but just pay attention to the dough and after about 5 minutes you’ll see how it’s changed and really is smoother and will stay in a pretty ball easily.)
  6. Place dough ball in greased bowl and turn greased side up. Cover with a dish towel, and let rise in a warm place about 1 1/2 hours (around 1 hour or a little less if using rapid rise yeast). You’ll know the dough is ready if a finger indention remains when the dough is poked.
  7. Punch down the dough; divide in half. Form each half into a loaf (fold the sides and ends under to make a smooth rounded one), and put in greased bread pans.
  8. Let rise until double, about 1 hour. (Keep an eye on bread at this point because if it goes past double you’ll have bread with a large cavity inside. Mine went about 30 min for rapid rise yeast.)
  9. Heat oven to 350; bake for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove from pans and cool.

Some tips
-Like I said rapid rise yeast means your rising time is cut in half.
-My kitchen is usually chilly, so when it comes to the rising part I turn my oven on the lowest setting and set the bowl and pans on top of the stove so it has a little extra warmth.
-If you make mini loaves cooking will only take 15-20 minutes.
-If you’re making big loaves or have two ovens it’s probably ok to double the recipe, but trying to fit 15 little loaves of bread in a single oven will probably lead to some burnt and some under cooked. (On the plus side you’ll learn where the hot spots are in your oven!)
-I found that foil pans don’t cook nearly as hot as actual bread pans, so when I checked to see if they were done I’d pop the loaves out of their pans a bit to see if they were done on the bottom.

Do you have any favorite recipes you cook at Christmas?

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