Here’s the recipe I use for making five loaves of fresh whole wheat bread, on the run. Instead of using a big block of time, I can squeeze this preparation in between many other obligations, during a typically busy day. It only takes about seven minutes for each segment of the process, which means I can make bread while juggling the rest of my life.
Now, I’ve purposely held off on sharing this recipe because I have this fear that too many people already think that the ONLY way to use wheat is for baking bread and I haven’t wanted to contribute to that misconception. Don’t want to be part OF the problem. (responsible baker) Please promise that you’ll remember that wheat really can be cooked like rice and served in salads, soups, and casseroles. In fact, I suggest that it’s smart to purchase a wheat grinder only AFTER you have purchased your 3 month and year supply of food. Please invest in the food, first! Wheat grinders can be borrowed or purchased later as luxury items in your food storage.
Here we go!
1. PREPARING THE SPONGE: (Evidently, this is what the pioneer babes called it. I don’t know how it works but it makes whole wheat bread that is…spongy, like white bread. Only thing better than hot spongy bread is that this first part of the process should only take about 7 minutes of your time.)
Grind nine cups of whole wheat kernels into flour. Mix 6 cups of fresh whole wheat flour with 5 cups of warm water.
Stir until completely blended, like thick oatmeal. I love this step. It reminds me of when I was little and did pretend cooking, mixing dirt and grass, with friends. (That came out wrong.)
Cover and allow to sit for 3 to 6 hours. This is when you get all the other stuff done on your daily list.
When you come back to the sponge, after a few hours, the gooey oatmeal mess will have magically turned into something that looks like…Flubber.
2. ADD INGREDIENTS AND MIX (So far, you’re into this 7 minutes and now you’re going to spend another 7 minutes adding the rest of the ingredients.)
First, add the sponge to your mixer. (I love my Bosch! Easily the best mommy-tool I ever bought.)
1 tablespoon of salt
1/3 cup of oil
2/3 cup of honey
Mix for 2 minutes
Add 6 cups, more or less by 1/2 cup, whole wheat flour to your mixer.
2 tablespoons of Saf-Instant yeast (people who know have told me not to substitute)
2 rounded tablespoons of Vital Wheat Gluten (magical ingredient?)
2 rounded tablespoons of potato flour (more magical ingredient)
3. COVER WITH LID AND KNEED ON MEDIUM SPEED FOR 15 MINUTES. (This time doesn’t count because YOU don’t have to do anything.) See how the dough now looks smooth and mostly pulls away from the sides of the bowl? That’s a good thing.
4. FORM INTO FIVE LOAVES AND TOSS INTO BAKING PANS. (Not even 7 minutes.)
5. COVER PANS WITH PLASTIC OR WAXED PAPER AND ALLOW DOUGH TO RISE FOR 45 MINUTES. (Change laundry, unload dishwasher, run child to lesson…you know the drill.)
6. BAKE AT 350 DEGREES FOR 30 MINUTES. COOL 5 MINUTES, REMOVE FROM PANS, AND BRUSH TOPS LIGHTLY WITH BUTTER.