I always struggled with whole wheat breads because they were so heavy, and the taste was just, well, too wheat-y! I love this recipe because it makes a loaf that is light, both in flavor and texture, but it is still whole wheat! I think the secret is the soaking. In warmer climates this bread may rise faster, but in my experience it’s best to consider this a 24hour recipe: start it in the evening, let it soak overnight, and then the following morning finish the mixing, and allow the risings all day long, baking in the evening.
Makes 4 loaves
12 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups warm water
1/2 cup ACV (apple cider vinegar—plain white vinegar can be substituted in a pinch)
Mix together and then cover bowl with a damp towel and set aside to soak overnight. This will be a very thick mixture, and awkward to mix. Just go at it with a wooden spoon until it’s consistent in texture. (I also recommend getting out the butter for part C, as you will want it to be soft in the morning.)
2/3 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup honey
1 Tbs salt
yeast mix from B
In another bowl, mix together, adding yeast mix last (make sure it has begun to bubble before adding it).
Add part C to flour mixture and mix well. I find this is nearly impossible with a spoon—just get your hands in there and goosh it around…it makes it easy to transition directly into kneading! I use an extra large bowl and knead right in the bowl. Add flour a little at a time as needed to knead the dough into a nice ball. It will probably be at least a couple of cups of flour total, depending on the humidity and such where you live. (The recipe recommends using white flour for this part, as it doesn’t have the phytic acid. It doesn’t have any other nutritional value either, but I do find white flour easier to knead with.)
Leave kneaded bread in the bowl, cover with towel, and let rise until double. (I find that in my cool climate my bread likes a couple of hours per rising.)
Punch down dough, and let rise until double again.
Divide into loaves, place in pans, cover and let rise until double.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.