Easy 100% Whole Wheat Bread in 90 Minutes

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Easy 100% Whole Wheat Bread in 90 Minutes

This is a great 100% whole wheat bread recipe for beginners and experts alike.  It is *almost* foolproof.  But, just to make sure you know what you’re doing, we have a picture tutorial on the process of making 100% whole wheat bread.  Explaining bread making in written words is challenging, so please bear with our long post.
 
Mix the 3 1/2 cups of flour, vital wheat gluten, (Vital wheat gluten naturally occurs in wheat.  It’s what holds the bread together.  Adding just a little more makes your bread nice and stretchy.) and yeast in your mixer with the dough hook.  (We recommend the Bosch Universal for durability and performance, but you can use whatever mixer you have.)  Add the water all at once and mix for 1 minute.  Cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes.  This allows the yeast to proof a little bit (Even though we’re using instant yeast which doesn’t need proofing, it still makes the final product just that much fluffier.)
 
While the dough is resting, assemble the remaining ingredients.  When the 10 minutes is up, add the salt, oil or soy lecithin, (Lecithin is a healthier option.  It is very beneficial to the brain.) honey or brown sugar, (Honey will keep the bread more moist, but some like the flavor of brown sugar.) and dough enhancer.  (Dough enhancer works with the yeast to make a fluffier bread.  The citric acid in it also acts as a natural preservative, allowing your bread to keep for a week or more just sitting on the counter.)  Knead for 1 minute.  Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time.  The last 1/2 cup may or may not be needed depending on the moisture in the air.  Knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. 
 
 
In the picture above, the dough has too much flour.  This is not a bad thing.  It’s actually smarter to put all the flour in, then add water as needed because any flour added after the first 3 minutes of kneading will actually contribute to dryer bread.
 
 
This picture shows what  to look for when you want to start checking if the dough is developed.
 
Some mixers may fully knead the bread in less time and some may take more time.  The best way to know if the gluten is fully developed and the dough is ready to be shaped is to do a window pane test.  This video demonstrates how to do this.  (Sorry for the poor video quality.)   Spray your hands with cooking spray and grab a small glob of dough.  Stretch it gently with your fingers.  The thinner you can stretch the dough before it starts to tear is how you tell.  If it starts to tear quickly, it needs to knead more.  The dough in the video needs some more kneading,  You can also over-knead it and it will revert back to being basically undeveloped and there’s really no way to fix that.  So be careful. 
 
The next step is to shape the dough into loaves. Spray your counter top with non-stick spray and plop your dough out.  Don’t use flour.  It’ll dry your bread out.  Weigh your dough out into 1 1/2 pound portions.  While it’s not crucial that you weigh the dough, it does help to keep the bread from falling or being too heavy.  Too much dough in the pan = the dough rising too high above the pan and falling because of a lack of support above the pan or not rising enough, resulting in heavy bread.

Shape your loaves and place them in your bread pans. After your loaves are shaped all pretty in the pans, brush the tops with melted butter or spray with butter flavored cooking spray.  This little extra step keeps the tops from drying out while rising and makes a super soft crust.

Turn your oven on for 1 minute, then turn it off.  Put your bread in there to rise for 10-15 minutes or until the dough reaches the top of the pan.  Then turn your oven on to 350 degrees without taking the bread out and set your timer for 35 minutes.  While the oven is pre-heating, the bread will finish rising and then automatically begin to bake.   

After 35 minutes, take your bread out of the oven, get it out of the pans, and place it to cool on a cooling rack.  Again, brush the tops with melted butter or spray with butter flavored cooking spray.  It makes the crust super super soft and gives a delicious buttery flavor.

Cut a slice while it’s still hot and spread some butter on it.  Enjoy!

Click on the photo above to enlarge it and check out that texture!
100% Whole Wheat Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  2. 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
  3. 1 1/4 tablespoon instant yeast
  4. 2 1/2 cups warm water
  5. 1 tablespoon salt
  6. 1/3 cup oil or soy lecithin
  7. 1/3 cup honey
  8. 1 1/4 tablespoon dough enhancer
  9. 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Mix 3 1/2 cups flour, vital wheat gluten, and yeast in mixer with dough hook. Add water all at once and mix 1 minute; cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Add salt, oil (or soy lecithin), honey, and dough enhancer and knead for 1 minute. Add last 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, kneading between each cup. Knead for about 6-8 minutes until dough pulls away from sides of the bowl. This makes a very soft dough.
  3. Preheat oven for 1 minute to lukewarm and turn off. With oiled hands, turn dough onto oiled counter top. Divide into two 1 1/2 lb portions. (There will be about 3/4 lb left. Make mini loaves or a few rolls with it.) Shape into loaves, and place in oiled bread pans.Let rise in warm oven for 10-15 minutes until dough reaches top of pans. Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 F and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from pans, brush melted butter on tops, and cool on racks.
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