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One-Half Whole-Wheat Bread


Several years ago I bought a wheat grinder. It’s tall, white, a little noisy, and something of a novelty if you didn’t grow up with two grandmothers who believed in the virtues of whole grains long before the food pyramid people told us we should. My grandmothers were way ahead a their time. Grandma Dickson owned a commercial Kitchen Aid mixer that could knead dough for at least 10 loaves of bread at a time and Grandmother Moncur ran a little health food store in her garage where she sold things like vitamin supplements and brewer’s yeast and Tiger’s Milk brand high protein bars. I grew up on homemade whole wheat bread and rose hip vitamin C supplements so it came as a bit of a surprise when I married Scott and he preferred white bread and pop-tarts. Not that cinnamon pop-tarts aren’t tasty, but still….

It’s taken some time for him to come around to whole wheat bread. 22 and 1/2 years to be exact. The other night I came home from working 13 hours in the hospital. Scott was equally spent from spending the last month writing a 187 page grant. Scrambled eggs and toast were the best we could manage for dinner. I cooked the eggs and Scott handled the toast. I knew I had made progress when I saw him toasting the whole wheat bread instead of the white, although I tried to conceal my excitement.

I call this One-Half Whole-Wheat Bread because it’s really a compromise. One half of the flour is all-purpose white, the other half is freshly ground whole wheat. You just shouldn’t push a person too fast, especially where whole grains are concerned. I’m going to keep tinkering with the proportions to see if I can reduce the white flour even more. I’ll keep you posted.

One-Half Whole-Wheat Bread

2 cups warm water (105°-115°)
2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (15.75 oz)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour (plus more as needed) (15.75 oz)
2 ½ teaspoons salt
½ cup canola oil
3 tablespoons rolled oats

In a large mixer bowl whisk together the warm water, yeast, honey, sugar, and canola oil. Add the whole-wheat flour, white flour, and salt. Knead with dough hook for about 10 minutes. The dough will start out very wet but becomes much much stiffer after 6 or 7 minutes.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat, and let rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch dough and let rise, covered, about 45 minutes more.

Grease 2 loaf pans, 8 ½ by 4 ½ by 2 inches. Divide dough in half. Gently shape each half into an oval loaf. Brush surface of loaves lightly with water, sprinkle with oats and transfer to pans and let rise, covered with kitchen towels, about 45 minutes. Place pans in cold oven, turn heat to 350° and bake about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Turn loaves out onto a rack to cool.

Makes 2 loaves

Notes

-The oats on top are optional. They make a mess all over the counter top, but they look great!
-If you can, try the King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour, or if you know me and you live in Connecticut, I will give you some freshly ground whole wheat flour. You’ll never go back.
-Instead of honey you can substitute molasses.
-Starting the bread in a cold oven can help give a higher rise to the loaf. I use this method if the dough seems a little sluggish while it is rising. You can also bake it in a preheated oven (350°) for 35 to 40 minutes.

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