Is there anything that says 'home' better than a warm slice of fresh-baked bread? Last winter I learned to make our family bread, and this recipe is the one I use every week (with small variations here and there). It is my adaptation of the Whole Grain Bread recipe on the Roger's flour bag. I knead it up in a Bosch mixer.
1/2 cup warm water (warm but not hot to the touch) 1 tsp honey 2 T traditional yeast
Step 1: Mix in the measuring cup. Let sit 3-8 minutes until the yeast has formed an inch or more of foam on top.
3 1/2 cups warm water 1/2 cup canola oil 1/4 cup + 2 T honey 2 T molasses (optional - adds flavor and color) 2 eggs OR 1/2 cup plain yogurt (must have no gelatin added!) 2 T lemon juice OR if not available, white vinegar. The lemon juice is tastier and more effective. (optional if using 'Best for Bread' high-gluten flour)
6 cups Rogers whole grain flour 1-2 cups rolled oats (optional - adds flavor. If someone in your family does not like 'texture' in their everyday bread, use quick oats) 1-2 cups hemp hearts (optional - adds Omega 3 and fibre)
Step 2: While the yeast proofs, combine the liquid ingredients in the mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture. Add the whole grain flour (and oats and hemp hearts) and mix vigorously. Let stand 15-20 minutes.
Whole grain (and whole wheat) flour take more time to absorb liquid. If you skip this step you will have trouble judging how much white flour to add, and your dough will be dry instead of elastic and tacky.
4 1/2 - 5 1/2 cups white flour ('Best for Bread' or 'Strong' flour definitely makes softer, larger loaves than 'All Purpose') 4 tsp salt
Step 3: Add the salt. Knead in the white flour a cup at a time to make a soft, workable dough. If the dough becomes too dry, add a tablespoon or 2 of water. Knead 5 min. in Bosch mixer on high. (Knead 10-15 min. by hand) Dough should be smooth and 'tacky' - it should stick and release when you press your finger to it. (If you are baking on a 25+ C hot day it will be sticky no matter how much flour you add. Oil your hands to work with it, don't over-add flour :)
Step 4: Oil your rising bowl. turn dough out into bowl and tuck in any corners to shape into a ball. Turn dough over once to oil the top. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place - 45-60 min or until doubled in size. Oil and flour 4 bread pans.
Step 5: Punch down the dough in the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut ball into 4. Knead each ball, then press down flat. Fold in 3 like a letter and tuck in the ends. (Roll the top in oats or seeds if you want to add extra yum-appeal) Place in pans. Set in oven, cover with a cloth. Turn oven to lowest bake setting, preferably 120 F. (My oven only goes down to 170 F, so I keep the door cracked open) Let rise 45-60 min until the loaves are as big as you want them.
Step 6: Remove cloth. Turn oven to 350 F, close the door. Bake 35 min, until tops are evenly brown. Let cool in the pans 15 min. before attempting to remove. Run a plastic spatula lifter all around loaves and use to lift/pry bread out of pans onto cooling racks. (using a metal knife will scratch your bread pan and make it harder to get your bread out next time).
Step 7: Slice off the warm heel and enjoy the taste of your hard work!