I grew up on homemade whole wheat bread. Still to this day one of my favorite things to eat is fresh bread, still warm from the oven, with butter and honey. Mmmmm. But then, the bread cooled and it became dry and crumbly. Not so mmmm. Store bought bread was a treat that I relished. Now that I'm a grown up... well, of an adult age at least... I don't like store bought bread so much anymore. Even the supposed 100% natural stuff still has stabilizers and preservatives to extend the shelf life. I don't want to eat that. So I've been searching for a while for a great 100% whole wheat bread recipe.
Almost all recipes I came across were at best only half wheat. I know that I could use all wheat flour, but then it wouldn't be soft. I also wanted a good, moist bread that didn't have a ton of added oil, butter or eggs. Those do make a nice, soft, moist bread, but it adds a lot of fat and calories that I don't want. I'm not necessarily dieting, but I am striving to make healthier choices in an effort to lose some weight and really just become healthier overall. I had nearly given my quest for the perfect whole wheat bread up as impossible, when I found this wonderful gem of a recipe:
Honey Yogurt Whole Wheat Bread
- 3 1/2-4 C whole wheat flour
- 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant or quick-rise yeast
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 C warm water (about 110-115 degrees)
- 3/4 C plain yogurt; regular, non-fat, or Greek
2. Using the dough hook, knead for 5-10 minutes, adding additional flour or water, 1 Tbsp at a time, to form a soft and moist dough. (not sticky, though)
3. Transfer dough to a large lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour, til dough has doubled.
4. Shape dough into a loaf. Place in an greased loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise again til dough crests about 1" over the pan.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Bread is done if it sounds hollow when thumped, or when internal temperature reads 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.
Sorry I don't have a picture for you of this beautiful bread; it hasn't stayed around long enough for me to snap one!
I've made this twice. The first time I actually thought that I had undercooked it, it is that soft and moist. It's a nice and dense bread with a very tender crumb.
If you don't have instant yeast, don't feel like you have to go out and buy some. I used regular active dry yeast and it came out fine. It definitely didn't rise as high as I think it could have, but it was fine. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, mixing all the ingredients together. The second time I proofed the yeast first by dissolving it in the warm water for about 5 minutes before adding the remaining ingredients. It did rise a little bit higher this way, but not much. I don't know how much of a difference using instant yeast might make. Instant yeast doesn't have as much oomph as active dry, so if you use it, be careful not to punch the dough down much when you put it in the pan or it might not rise enough.
I used non-fat plain Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular plain yogurt. I would imagine that using regular plain yogurt with fat would impart even more moisture to this bread, but I have no complaints with how it turns out using non-fat.
Vital wheat gluten is easily found at any grocery store. It will probably be right next to the yeast. Adding it to your bread dough helps give your bread a higher rise and gives it a bit of togetherness, preventing it from being crumbly.
By the way, this makes amazing French toast.