Here is how I do it:
Pour 3/4 C of warm water into a bowl, sprinkle on top of the water 4 1/2 tsp or two packets of active dry yeast and 1C whole wheat flour. Mix it up, cover it and let it sit for about 30-45 min or until it looks like this.
Add to this 1 1/2C warm water and 2 C whole wheat flour and mix it it up.
Then, sprinkle over the dough:
- 1/2C vital wheat gluten
- 1/3C oil (olive, coconut, sunflower)
- 1/3C honey (maple syrup, agave nectar, brown rice syrup)
- 2T apple cider vinegar (this is to keep it fresh a little longer. I used to freeze one loaf but found that I like how vinegar preserves it more than freezing it does)
- 1T sea salt
Then, add 1 1/2 - 2C flour to this. Depending on what kind of flour I use this can change. When I grind my wheat berries into flour, I use about 1 1/2C flour. If I use whole wheat pastry flour I use 2C. Here, I added 1C of whole wheat flour and 1C of white flour (I know it is horrible and hardly ever buy it but, I ran out of whole wheat and it was what I had). My favorite flour to use is the organic whole wheat pastry flour from OB Peoples Market. Anyway, this is what it should look like before mixing it up.
Mix it up and it should look like this. You don't need to mix it up a lot, just to combine. If you over work the dough, it will become hard and tough. Some things should be hard, sandwich bread is not one of them.
Plop this onto a floured surface and start kneading. It took me about 3 min to turn it into a ball.
I did add a little more flour to this, about 1/4 of a cup.
Knead it into a ball, put it back into the bowl, rub some oil on it and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel. I set this on my stove and leave it for an hour or a little longer. On a warm summer day it may only take 45 min to double, just watch it.
When it looks like this, take the cover off and plop it back onto your floured surface.
Flatten the dough out to get out any air bubbles and cut in half.
Roll up each half.
and fold the ends down and under like this.
Put your loaves into two loaf pans, rub with a little oil and cover.
This is usually when I turn on my oven to 350º
When they have risen and look like this, about 20-30min,
take off the cover and put in the oven.
My 60 year old oven cooks these in about 23 min, yours might take longer. When they look like this, nice and browned, take them out and let them cool. If you try and take them out before they are cool they will not come out nice and neat. I have done this many times when the kids are anxious for a piece of bread and the bottom stays in the pan.
I made these last night. I started right after I served my kids dinner and was done about 3 hours later. It is easy and just one of those things I work into my weekly routine.