For general sliced bread needs, this is my go-to option. In my view good uses of this bread are things such as a cold cut sandwich, French toast, or for sopping up chili. I do not make the "2lb loaf pan" type of bread too often, but when I do this is what I prefer.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Baking / Waiting: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total: 2 hours 45 minutes
- 1 1/2C warm water (around 110°F)
- 1T active dry yeast
- 576g whole wheat flour
- 1/3C olive oil
- 1/3C honey
- 1T vital wheat gluten
- 2t kosher salt
- Mix the yeast and water together in a small bowl. And let stand for 5 minutes. At this point a layer of "foam" should appear over the water. If not maybe try again with different yeast.
- Stir the oil and honey into the yeast mixture.
- Add the salt, gluten, and 3/4 of the flour to the bowl of a stand mixer. Make an indentation in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the wet ingredients into it. The more you make this bread in different conditions, the more you will get a better feeling on how much flour is needed. Even then it is best to reserve some flour. The 576g of flour as recommended by the original recipe works pretty well for me, so I will only reserve two or 3 tablespoons of flour.
- Use the paddle blade attachment on the stand mixer mix on low speed for 3 minutes. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add a tablespoon of flour and wait 30 seconds. If the dough is still sticking heavily to the sides of the bowl, add another tablespoon of flour. Repeat this until the dough is only briefly sticking at times on the side of the bowl.
- Change to a dough hook and run the stand mixer for 5 minutes on medium-low (20%) speed.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place into a bowl with a little bit of oil in the bottom, (I just use the stand mixer bowl). Spin the dough around so it is lightly covered in oil. Cover with a cookie sheet and let stand for at least an hour and a half. (Many recipes I've read say "until it has doubled in size", but I don't know how to judge that. Basically the dough should feel like a very soft pillow when lightly poked and bounce back after you remove your finger.)
- Punch down the dough and place in a 9x5in loaf pan. Shape it so it is fairly evenly distributed.
- Bake in a 350°F (335°F convection) oven for 30 minutes. If it is deep golden-brown in color and firm to the touch then (optionally) check if the internal temperature is at least 190°F. If it does not seem done then continue to bake and check again the color (and optionally temperature) every 5 minutes.
- Remove from the loaf pan and let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.