When I was first married, I decided it was time to make bread, something I had always wanted to do. First stop, the book store to get a “bread” book. I looked through the offerings and chose one based solely on the layout – each recipe was laid out by how much time it took to do each step. It was perfect for someone who had never made bread before.
I took it home and read the beginning chapters where the author talked about kinds of flour, techniques and how to make yeast breads. I proceeded to make cinnamon rolls and they turned out really well – surely beginner’s luck. Over time I tried other recipes and continued to have good results.
I have used this book for years and only much later realized my book, The Complete Book of Breads, was authored by an award winning baker – Bernard Clayton. My 1973 edition is out of print but a new edition was published in 2008 right before he died.
My loaf bread recipe began with Clayton’s “Rich White Bread” on page 86. I doubled this recipe to four loaves and made it for years. When I decided to add whole wheat flour, I played with the amount and ended up with 3 cups – ¼ of the flour in the recipe. This was enough to give a whole wheat taste, but not enough to adversely effect the texture.
Then I was watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen and they added an oatmeal cereal to their whole wheat bread to give it a better chew. I added one cup of Bob’s Red Mill “5 Grain Cereal”, reducing the whole wheat flour to two cups. There is also a seven grain and nine grain cereal but there’s a big difference. The one I use looks like oatmeal flakes; the others look like grits. I really didn’t like the texture of the bread made with the grit product.
So, here’s my recipe for four loaves of bread. I probably make this about once a month. It is important that you not add too much flour. The dough continues to absorb water as it rises. It’s easy to add more flour if it is sticky, not so easy to add more water.
These loaves make great toast, French bread, bread crumbs, sandwiches – whatever you would use bread for. And it freezes really well. I hope you enjoy it!
2 cups whole wheat flour
8 cups bread flour
3 cups water (120˚)
2/3 cup powdered milk
2 Tablespoons instant yeast
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Measure cereal into mixer bowl. Pour boiling water over and stir to combine. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.
Add 3 cups bread flour, water, yeast, milk, salt and sugar. Using paddle attachment mix to combine. Add butter. Mix 4 minutes.
Switch to dough hook. Add 2 cups whole wheat flour and 2 cups bread flour. When incorporated add flour 1 cup at a time. Dough should pull away from sides of bowl but stick to bottom. Knead 5 minutes. If mixer will not hold all of the flour, knead by hand. Dough should be tacky but not sticky.
Form dough into ball. Place in large greased bowl top side down, then flip over. Cover with plastic wrap. Rise 1 hour. Punch down and turn over. Re-cover and rise 45 minutes.
Turn dough out onto work surface dusted with flour. Knead briefly. Divide into 4 even pieces (I use a digital scale). Form loaves by rolling each piece into log being sure to have skin of dough as top. Pinch seam and place seam side down in greased 8.5” x 4.5″ loaf pans. Cover and rise 45 minutes.
Heat oven to 400˚. Bake loaves 30-45 minutes until brown and bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
Remove loaves from pans and cool completely on wire rack. Freezes really well.