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Whole Wheat Loaf

This is not your cardboard grocery store version of whole wheat bread. Honey and a touch of molasses (substituted for the more difficult to find malt extract called for in the recipe) give the loaf a subtle sweetness and depth of flavor. The recipe is very straightforward and makes two loaves. You can find it here at this week’s hosts: Veggie Num Nums and The Family that Bakes Together.

It’s a rewarding experience to make bread by hand. The feel of the dough as you knead it into a smooth ball is completely lost once you let a machine do the work for you. I’m not going to give up my bread machine yet (it is awfully convenient!) but I will be making this whole wheat bread by hand again.

The dough shaping procedure used in this recipe was new to me. To shape the dough after the first rise you press the dough into a rectangle 9 inches by 12 inches long:

Starting at the top, the dough is folded about two-thirds of the way down:

and then folded again so that the top edge meets the bottom edge:

The seam is pinched tightly and the ends are folded in and pinched. Not too pretty. I need some practice here!

The loaf is then turned over so the seam is on the bottom. Much better!

The loaf is then put into a buttered pan, covered with plastic wrap, and allowed to rise until it doubles in size again. Before the second rise:

After the second rise:

Last the bread is baked in a 375 degree F. oven for 35 minutes. You let it cool and then slice away!

My whole wheat loaf wasn’t perfect but I like to think that is part of the charm of homemade bread. It was delicious and the perfect partner for some homemade soup I made. I do think my baking skills are improving thanks to the helpful tips and insights from the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group!