Homemade whole wheat bread is very delicious, affordable, fun to make, and fun to eat! My husband purchased a Bosch Kitchen System for me about fifteen years ago, and we've been experimenting ever since. There's always a new recipe to try, a new technique to master (not that I've mastered one yet...I'm a slow learner), and creative new ways of making beautiful breads and pastries. Even the children love making bread. In fact, the little ones think it's a lot like playing with play dough:) They always ask for a bit of dough to work with and often come up with the best *recipes*!
Not to worry if you do not own a Bosch Kitchen System. You will save a lot of energy by letting it do the work of kneading for you, but it isn't essential to have. I dreamed of having one long before I actually received it:)
We have an electric grinder and a non-electric one for grinding our grain. The electric one we've had for many many years and we have been very pleased with it's service. The non-electric one we purchased last year. It actually grinds a finer flour than the electric one, and I wouldn't have believed that to be possible. We also have had a very inexpensive non-electric one that we mostly used for grinding dried beans. It works fine but probably wouldn't hold up as well with constant use. It also required running the grain through twice in order to get it fine enough.
Our wheat berries are purchased in bulk from Wheat Montana. They will deliver to you if you order a minimum of 5000 pounds. It really isn't that difficult to put together a group order and meet the minimum, and the price is well worth the trouble. They sell in 25# bags, 50# bags, and 45# buckets. I prefer using Prairie Gold, but I've also enjoyed Red Wheat, Spelt, Rye, and White Pastry Wheat. They also offer more than just wheat.
We also purchase some items from a food cooperative on a monthly basis, but their price on wheat is much higher than that of Wheat Montana.
I really love using rapid-rise or quick-rise yeast rather than the small packets in the grocery store. It will typically rise your dough in half the amount of time and it is SO much cheaper. Instant yeast such as the popular SAF brand is a professional baker's yeast and is available to anyone. You can also purchase instant yeast at Sam's for a great price.
Now for the recipe:
Mill 12-13 cups wheat, set aside (18-20 cups flour and it= approx. 5 pounds)
In heavy duty mixer bowl with dough hook attachment (if using Bosch)or(large bowl if kneading by hand)
6 cups warm water (120 - 130 degrees)
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup oil (or1/3)
5 cups of flour
4 tbsp. instant yeast
Cover and let sponge for at least 30 minutes. This is optional but develops better flavor.
Add 2 tbsp. salt and enough of the flour that remains (very quickly) until the dough cleans the sides of your Bosch bowl. If the dough is very wet, add more flour. Start the kneading process for 8 minutes. Shape into five greased 8"x4" pans. Cover with towel and rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool on rack. Brush with butter, optional. This recipe is a combination of the recipe I've used for many years and a recipe by Denise Fidler at The Country Baker. She has a WONDERFUL cookbook ~ Wildflour.
We make 3 or 4 batches of this dough a week for our family of 15, and it can be used for making all sorts of things. We make some of the dough into loaves, 5 pizza crusts out of the dough for Friday night pizza, cinnamon rolls, monkey bread, braided bread stuffed with meats,* fried* pies. It really is an *all-purpose* kind of recipe! One of our favorite things to make with the dough is something we call Bloomin' Parmasan Bread, and I hope to share pictures and the rest of the recipe tomorrow. I think I'll always be on the look out for new bread recipes and ways to improve. I have much to learn and would love to hear any ideas or recipes you may have! Happy baking:)