I enjoy making homemade bread. From a crusty artisan sourdough to a shiny braided golden loaf of challah, I don't discriminate, and my family loves them all! But there is something about baking a homemade loaf with whole wheat flour that you have freshly ground yourself, that just makes you feel like a superhero, and mysteriously makes the final product taste even better. Unfortunately, as of late wheat berries have been difficult to find at reasonable prices. After many months, I finally found a stellar deal on wheat berries this week, so fresh baked bread had to be on the menu. I set about the noisy task of grinding the wheat, clanging mixing bowls about as I retrieved the biggest one, then rifling through the cabinets for extracts and the drawers for measuring spoons. I even pulled out a new tea towel to mark the occasion, I was exhilarated. As I worked, I imagined the toast and sandwiches we could make with the bread. How tasty it would be alongside a pot of Buffalo Chicken Chowder. And how wonderful it would taste slathered in butter. At last, it was out of the oven, resting on a cooling rack under its pristine tea towel blanket. Satisfied with my efforts, I started cleaning up. As I did, I witnessed the most incredible phenomenon. One by one, family members wandered into the kitchen, serenely, as if enchanted by the heavenly aroma. In every instance, they would gingerly lift the tea towel and peer underneath. Without fail, a giant grin paired with wide happy eyes would look up to meet mine and with anticipation ask, "can I have some?" What a feeling. Yes. Indeed. It really is the simple things in life. Sometimes happiness is loaf of fresh baked bread. If you would like to make your own loaf of homemade happiness, you can find my recipe below. You don't need to grind your own wheat, store bought whole grain flour will do nicely. If you would like the tea towel I used, it can be found here on WinstonBidwell.com in a variety of styles. Maybe there is one to suite you! I’ll leave a direct link below.
(aka 100% Whole Grain Bread)
*Note: If you are grinding your own wheat, if you weigh the wheat prior to grinding, there is no need to weigh or measure the flour post grinding, just add it on in!
In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients:
1¼ C warm water ¼ C olive oil
¼ C agave syrup (or honey) 1½ t kosher salt (or 1 ¼ t table salt)
¼ C powdered milk 2½ t yeast
400g ground wheat berries (or roughly 3½ C whole wheat flour)
Mix your ingredients until well combined. Dough will be rough and shaggy, but if it’s too dry to bring together, add water 1 T at a time until it comes together. Then cover with a tea towel and set bowl aside for 30 mins (this allows the whole grain flour to get fully hydrated).
After your dough has rested for 30 mins, use a wooden spoon or bench scrapper to fold the dough over on itself, deflating any air bubbles that have developed. Repeat this pattern of 30 min rest followed by a folding of the dough 2 more times. By the last folding, you should see that the dough has developed significantly more stretch. It is now ready to be placed into a well-greased loaf pan and covered with a tea towel for its final rise.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees as you let the bread rise for the final time, about 30-50 mins until it has doubled in size. Once bread has doubled in size, uncover, and slide into the oven for 35-40 mins.
Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 mins before tipping it out onto a cooling rack. (Laying loaf on its side prevents the loaf from disforming or collapsing as it cools, about 45 mins to an hour).
Slice and enjoy!