There is an art to bread making. There are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way that I want to share with you today so that you don’t make the same, frustrating mistakes I made, ending up with a product that looks very disappointing and to which your kids say things like, “What happened to that?” or, “Is that bread?” Uh, yeah. Not the kind of response I’m looking for after having spent two hours in the kitchen working on it. This bread is different than most whole wheat recipes out there because, like the Great Harvest Bread, there are only 5 ingredients. 5. That’s it! Do you know how rare that is to find? I don’t think I’ve ever found it in a store bought bread; most have added sugars and high fructose corn syrups along with a bunch of preservatives. Several of my kids eat 2-3 slices of bread each day(toast at breakfast, sandwich for lunch) and so I don’t want all that extra added stuff in there when I know it’s not good for them. I actually gave Great Harvest a call just to be sure that what I’d heard about their five ingredient bread was true, and they reassured me that yes, there are only 5 ingredients, to which I asked, “And there’s really no oil or butter and you really don’t add vital wheat gluten or dough enhancer?” Nope, they really don’t use any of that, just wheat flour, water, salt, honey and yeast. For this bread recipe, you’ll need one, 8×4 inch loaf pan. It’s not the large 9×5 loaf pan that is more standard, and it’s not the mini one, it’s the one right in between. This is the size Great Harvest uses for their bread. If you use the larger 9×5, you won’t have enough dough for it to rise above the pan. This recipe is just enough for the 8×4. I don’t ever measure the flour first, because the amount of flour changes depending on how dry or humid the climate is that day. First I measure and warm my water, either in the microwave or over the stove, and I use my candy thermometer to make sure it’s around 110-120 degrees F. I put this water in my Bosch with my dough hook attached (you can use another mixer like kitchenaid, or you can make your bread in a large mixing bowl and knead it by hand; that’s what I did until I got my Bosch a few years ago). Next, I add to my water one cup of wheat flour, my yeast and honey, and mix it just to combine. Cover it and let it stand for about 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Mostly I want to be sure my yeast is still good, because if it’s not, you’re bread won’t rise and you’ll end up wasting 2 hours of your time and I hate wasting time. Once the yeast is proofed, add in your salt and another cup of wheat flour and mix. Keep adding more flour, 1/2 c up at a time, until the dough starts to cling to itself more than to the bowl. It’ll form into a loose ball and begin to clean the inside of the bowl. Once it does this, you’ve added enough flour. It should still be slightly sticky to the touch. Allow your dough to knead in the bosch for about 5 more minutes. Also, I should add that I’m at a higher altitude, living in Colorado, so the amount of flour you add might be a little less than mine. But the same rules apply which is to keep adding flour until it starts to clean the bowl, that it will be sticking to itself more than to the bowl, but the dough will still be slightly sticky to the touch. This video shows the consistency of the bread dough once you’ve added enough flour. Keep in mind that I was making enough dough for four loaves when I made the video.
Take your dough hook out, cover your bowl and allow it to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. (If you’re quadrupling the recipe, to make four loaves, you’ll need to take the dough out and let it rise in a larger mixing bowl; and it’s always good to grease it first) If you’ve ever made bread before, you might have made it like me where I would just allow it to rise once, in a warmed oven, and it was good to go. Well, you can’t do that when there are only 5 ingredients with no vital wheat gluten or dough enhancer to ‘help’ that rise. If you do, you’ll end up with a very large and long hole in the top of your bread that separates the crust from the bread. Kind of like this:
You’ve got to do it the old fashioned way and allow the dough to rise until doubled,
grease your hands and punch it down(I just lather my hands with coconut oil), form it into a loaf, put it in a greased loaf pan,
Here is a video I made which demonstrates how to form bread loaves.
cover it with a small towel,
At this point you’ll stick the loaf into your preheated oven, and bake it for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it’s not doughy.
Take it out of the oven but leave it in the pan for about 5 minutes.
Use a knife around the edge, and then turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before cutting.
This bread will store in the pantry for about 5 days. You can also freeze loaves, but when I do, I always double bag them (usually I put the bread in the loaf bag, inside of another grocery bag.
Great Harvest Honey Whole Wheat Bread Copycat
*makes 1 8×4-inch loaf
1 1/4 C warm water (110-120 degrees F)
1 c whole white wheat flour
1 Tbsp yeast
1/4 c honey
1 tsp sea salt
2-4 c whole white wheat flour (could be up to a cup less if using store-bought flour, so watch)
Combine warm water, one cup of wheat flour, yeast and honey, and mix it just to combine. Cover it and let it stand for about 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Once it’s proofed, add in your salt and another cup of wheat flour and mix. Keep adding more flour, 1/2 c up at a time, until the dough starts to cling to itself more than to the bowl. It’ll form into a loose ball and begin to clean the inside of the bowl. Once it does this, you’ve added enough flour. It should still be slightly stick to the touch. Allow it to knead in the bosch for another 5 minutes.Grease your hands with coconut oil and take your dough hook out, cover your bowl and allow it to rise until doubled, about 30 minutes(If you are quadrupling the recipe, you’ll want to take the dough out and put it in a larger, greased bowl to rise). With greased hands, punch down the dough, form it into a loaf, put it in a greased loaf pan, cover it with a small towel and then let it rise again until it rises above the top of the 8×4 inch pan. While it’s rising, preheat your oven to 340 degrees F. Stick the loaf into your preheated oven, and bake it for about 30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and it’s not doughy. Take it out of the oven but leave it in the pan for 5 minutes. Use a knife around the edge, and then turn it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before cutting.
*To make their Dakota Bread, knead into the dough 2 Tbsp each of sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
*You can easily quadruple this recipe by quadrupling water, salt, yeast and honey and then adding enough flour until the dough starts cleaning the side of the bowl but it’s still slightly sticky to the touch(it’ll be close to the quadrupled amount but probably not exactly). Be sure to put your dough in a larger, greased bowl for the first rise; if you leave it in the bosch it will overflow. In my four loaves pictured below, when I was forming them into loaves, I added seeds to just one of the loaves, kneaded them in for a minute or two, and then baked them. I keep one loaf out and freeze the rest for another day/week.