Last winter I tried some Whole Wheat No Knead bread, but this year I think I’ll give kneading a chance. I find making bread to be both fascinating and frustrating – there are so many different variables which affect the final result, and yet so many errors you can make along the way. Even though I have memories of large bowls of dough covered in towels at my grandmother’s house, I am essentially a beginner.
So after a long afternoon of Internet recipe searching and cookbook reviews, I just about gave up and decided to stick with the Betty Crocker recipe from my 1989 cookbook, and substitute in some whole wheat flour. First, I added a package of active dry yeast to 1/4 cup warm water, with just a sprinkle of sugar. The good news was that it started to foam up right away. Then, I set 2 cups of milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan on the stove and heated until warm. I put 1 cup of white flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour in a large bowl, and added the warm milk and stirred. I added the yeast and stirred again.
Here’s where it gets tricky because I stopped measuring. I added another 3-4 cups of flour, using a mix of white and whole wheat, and kneaded the dough by hand for a good 10 minutes. There was dough all over my hands, flour everywhere, and I had no idea whether I was on the right track. This happens all the time with new recipes, you just need to keep moving forward. But I finally dropped the ball of dough into a large bowl coated with cooking spray, covered it with a towel, and left the house to do some errands.
When I returned, more good news – the dough had doubled! I punched it down, let it rest, and then shaped it into two loaves. I placed each in a loaf pan coated with cooking spray, covered it with a towel, and did some laundry. The dough rose again! I baked it at 375F for about 30 minutes, and it was perfectly done. I let it cool before slicing, and then served it with real butter. I’ve got to say, it was pretty good for a beginning bread maker. But the texture was more like sandwich bread, and I want something with a little more crust, so back to the kitchen I go!