Whole Wheat Bread Baking 101: 4 Moms

moms of many manageWelcome to this week’s edition of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage.  This week the 4 moms are talking about baking bread, sharing our recipes and inviting you to link up.

Our family has been baking our own whole wheat bread for more than 10 years, well except for the pickled wheat incident. (It’s a long story, but suffice it to say that we know from experience that storing wheat in buckets that were previously used to store pickles will not only cause your wheat to smell and taste pickle-y, it will also wreak havoc on your bread baking efforts.)  As I was saying, we’ve been making our own bread for a good long while, but recently a friend gave me her (even for me) fail proof recipe and I’ve been absolutely thrilled with the consistency with which we are now able to turn out loaf after loaf of delightful, non-crumbly whole wheat bread.

So this post is dedicated to Kelly, thank you my friend.

For those of you who are old pros at the whole bread baking process here is the recipe in simple form.

Maine’s Honey Whole Wheat

An every day bread ideal for sandwiches, french toast and everything in between.

4 cups warm water (it should feel warm, but not uncomfortable to touch)
1 cup oil
1 cup honey
2 T + 1 tsp yeast
3 lbs. 7 1/2 oz. wheat (just under 13 cups of wheat flour)
1 T + 1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lecithin
1/3 cup gluten
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (optional)

Grind wheat. Combine water, oil and honey.  Add yeast, salt, lecithin, flax (grind in blender) and gluten. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add the wheat four and knead until smooth and elastic (about 12 minutes in an Electrolux mixer).

Shape into 4 – 1 lb. 12 oz. loaves  and place in greased pans. Let rise until double (about 45 minutes to an hour). Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Now for a pictorial step-by-step:

Weigh out your wheat berries

and put them in your grain mill to start grinding. Of course you may also substitute the same weight of whole wheat flour.

While you wait for the wheat to grind measure and add water, oil, honey, yeast, salt, lecithin, flax and gluten in a large bowl or a heavy duty mixer

and mix.

Turn the oven to 350 degrees (you’ll turn it off when you finish adding the flour, you just want a nice warm place for the bread to rise).

Slowly add and mix in the flour.

Turn off the oven and then begin kneading. The dough will be sticky. If necessary you may use some oil or butter on your hands as you knead. I would avoid adding additional flour as this creates crumbly bread.

If you have an electric mixer this is a perfect time to clean up and grease your bread pans. I grease them with just a bit of butter.

Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic (this takes about 12 minutes in my Electrolux mixer).

Divide dough into four equal portions and place in greased pans. (Notice how the dough is behaving? This is how you can tell that you’re finished kneading.)

Each loaf should weigh about 1 lb. 12 oz. (but you may also just eyeball it).

Place loaves in warm oven and allow to rise until double (about 45 minutes to an hour). Then bake for 30 minutes while you enjoy the smell of freshly baking bread.

You now have four loaves of healthy, homemade bread that you children will prefer over store bought.

Slice and enjoy.

Now it’s your turn to share your favorite bread recipe. Please link directly to your post (and not just to your home page) and link back to at least one of the 4 Moms so your readers can enjoy the whole collection.

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Read what the other moms of many have to say about baking bread:
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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39 Responses to Whole Wheat Bread Baking 101: 4 Moms
  1. Ma
    March 17, 2011 | 7:45 am

    This looks really yummy!

    I’ve been doing mine all by hand for about a year and a half using a wild yeast starter:), but not wheat berries freshly ground, that’s definitely the next upgrade in the process!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Will you please share your recipe and process? I hope to get to where we use a natural starter.

    My next step is to adapt this recipe to include a grain soaking stage and then we’ll think about a starter, but for now we’re enjoying this wonderful bread. 🙂


  2. Heather
    March 17, 2011 | 8:25 am

    Looks good, Kimberly. I have been looking for a new recipe to try. Thanks for this one. I have been avoiding lecithin as it just sounds ‘chemically’ to me…Do you happen to know if it is good for you?


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Lecithin is a fatty substance needed by every cell in our body and is a key building blocks of cell membranes. If we have an adequate diet our liver produces lecithin every day. Lecithin can also be naturally consumed by eating lecithin rich foods such as egg yolk, grains and fish.

    Lecithin is a health supplement used to treat a variety of health concerns. I try to find ways to incorporate Lecithin into our diet, but I’m not an expert. I do know that it improves the texture of bread. 🙂


    Bethany Reply:

    Is this liquid lecithin?


  3. Roan
    March 17, 2011 | 9:09 am

    Hi Kimberly,
    I just posted my FIRST experience at making homemade bread last week. So I just linked up to last week’s post. I am so glad y’all did this. I cannot wait to try your recipe, and many others too. I have changed our families diet over the last couple of months…..little or no processed foods, and I am trying more and more meatless dishes…..I am watching my calorie intake and just trying to eat healthier overall while I am training for my first marathon (3 weeks away!).
    Have a great day!


  4. Heather
    March 17, 2011 | 9:17 am

    Wow! Thank you so much for the lecithin information! I appreciate it very much. I have simply never researched it and you just saved me that time.

    I’ll be adding it to my grocery list (and bread recipes).


  5. Ashley
    March 17, 2011 | 9:22 am

    Did you leave out one rising or does this only rise in the pans? All the bread I’ve ever made has a step that the dough rises first and then you punch down and form into loaves. Maybe I missed something 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    This recipe calls for only one rising. You can certainly do another rising and probably some bread connoisseurs would argue that you should, but we love how this turns out and when you’re making as much bread as we do, simpler is better. 🙂


    Ashley Reply:

    Sounds good to me. I’d love for it to take less time from start to finish! I’ll have to try this one! Thanks!


  6. Courtney
    March 17, 2011 | 10:23 am

    I’m glad to hear you have time to make your own bread. I always worry with each new baby that I’ll have to give it up.
    We started making our own bread a while ago, it’s taken some practice and now our bread is amazing. I have learned a few things- your bread is more successful if your recipe comes from the same region where you live (altitude, humidity). I have a 13 grain bread which is to die for!


  7. Twisted Cinderella
    March 17, 2011 | 12:14 pm

    I never thought of adding flax seeds to my bread! I will have to give that a shot!


  8. Jarnette @ Seasons of Life
    March 17, 2011 | 1:02 pm

    We started bread baking on child number 3…that was over 9 years ago (he’s 11 now)…and soon-to-be 5 children ago (we’re expecting our 8th). Homemade whole wheat bread is a delightful and healthy addition to our lives ~ so glad to have been taught to do so all those years ago. 🙂


  9. Erin J
    March 17, 2011 | 1:16 pm

    Oh, How I have been wanting a countertop flour meal for about 2 years now. One day I will be blessed to get it. I wonder if you know if any places I could find one used. That bread looks yummy and light. I will try it with my store bought spelt flour and see how it goes. What can you use if you don’t have lecithin?


  10. Becky
    March 17, 2011 | 2:19 pm

    Hello! May I ask what brand of Vital Wheat Gluten you use? I have only found one, and would like to check out another. I use this recipe as well. I use it in my bread maker. It comes out amazingly well every time.


    Becky Reply:

    Here is a link to the bread recipe I use. 🙂


  11. Katie
    March 17, 2011 | 3:03 pm

    Just to comfort anyone who doesn’t think they can make bread… I consider myself an expert, and today I made bread but forgot the salt 😉 That’s life. And we are eating it anyway. We will probably make a lot of French toast out of it.

    Your recipe uses a lot of oil. Did you know that you can substitute ground flax seed for oil? So if you put in the 1/2 cup flax, you can cut the oil in half.

    And I always throw in our left over breakfast oatmeal. It may not work as well for this recipe as it’s so dependent on weight. I just throw in 1 or 2 cups cooked oatmeal into a 4 loaf batch and cut down the liquid by 1/4 to 1/2 cup.


    Kathy Reply:

    I did too!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I do put in the flax seed does that mean I can decrease the oil or should I put in more flax seed in order to decrease the oil. (I actually like to use Palm or coconut oil, so I’m not too worried about having a lot of oil in it, but there are often times I use Canola and I’d like to minimize that.)


    Katie Reply:

    Well, my recipe has about the same amount of flour and uses 1/2 cup oil. I only put in1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup flax seeds ground (I measure the seeds before grinding).

    My recipe also only uses 1/2 cup honey.

    The problem with changing anything in this recipe is that the weights will be off. 😉 And I’m more of a “can’t follow the recipe if I try” kind of cook. I always just go by looks and feel when it comes to bread.


  12. Taryn
    March 17, 2011 | 3:26 pm

    No sugar or high fructose corn syrup! Candy at myblessedhome.blogspot.com has a sourdough bread recipe with honey-no sugar. We just bought some salt-free bread(watching the high blood pressure) but it has high fructose corn syrup,etc.


  13. Brandi
    March 17, 2011 | 6:45 pm

    Do you like your Cuisinart scale? I have tossed two inexpensive ones out because they junk. I am in the market for one that is sturdy and accurate and digital.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Brandi, I love my Cuisinart scale! We also started with a cheap scale and when that one was finished we purchased this one. I did not realize what I was missing, love it. 🙂


    Brandi Reply:

    Great! I have added the scale to my wish list. One more question, I have the same Norpro bread pans which I LOVE!! (and I have used several different kinds) Are you using the 10″ pans for this recipe? Thanks for your time.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, the 10″ pans. 🙂


  14. Kelli
    March 17, 2011 | 9:45 pm

    Hey Kimberly,
    I linked to a recipe I started using a few months ago that includes soaking the wheat beforehand. I didn’t think I would like it, but we all like it just as much as the other! Just thought I’d share. Your recipe sounds delicious!


  15. Hannah
    March 18, 2011 | 10:08 pm

    Can you halve the recipe? Or does it freeze well? Our family is not quite going through that much bread yet to need 4 loaves at once.




    Amanda Reply:

    I too am wondering if it can be halved without compromising the texture. I also am wondering if this bread is crumbly after about 1 day? The bread I make is great right out of the oven, or the fist 24 hours or so, but it crumbles the next day. 6 kids makes quite a mess… 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I haven’t tried freezing it but would assume that it would be fine to freeze. My guess is that you’d have to tweak the amounts if you want to halve it.

    Back when we didn’t go through 4 loaves in a week we sold the remaining loaves to some families at church. They’re also nice to give away.


  16. Jonnie Bernier
    March 22, 2011 | 1:22 am

    I just bought a grain mill, and was told to add dough enhancer to the wheat bread. Does anyone know why, what is does, or what is in it? I am brand new to grinding wheat/making whole wheat bread.


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Gluten will have the same benefits as dough enhancer (and may be used in place of the enhancer). It’s an optional ingredient but improves the texture of the bread.


  17. Beth@ Acorns and Oaks
    March 22, 2011 | 3:01 pm

    I linked up a gluten free bread recipe. Your bread looks delicious!


  18. sarah
    March 22, 2011 | 9:00 pm

    I made your bread recipe today! It is WONDERFUL!! Half a loaf is already consumed… 🙂 Loved all the healthy stuff in it too. Terrific! I did use a couple cups of white flour, and I didn’t have any honey left, so used brown sugar, but…. it is so yummy! I used my DLX and it was a cinch to make-even with three little ones. yay!
    Where do you get your bulk foods? ( i’m near K’ville…)
    Here’s my post on the bread: http://sarahsheartshome.blogspot.com/2011/03/making-bread.html kind of a humerous experiences. I have always enjoyed making bread, but it has always seemed like such a process. Especially now with kids. But with the bread mixer it’s so easy!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I generally try to order basic bulk grains with a group that orders twice a year. I have also ordered with a co-op that orders from Something Better Foods once every couple of months. If all else fails I order through Three Rivers Market.

    If you’d like contact info for any of the groups feel free to email me via the contact page.


  19. Holly
    April 28, 2011 | 8:28 pm

    I just made your bread, it has been on my want to do list since you posted this. I love that it doesn’t have to rise twice, although, I will probably rise it twice next time just so I know the difference. I did cut the recipe in half as I didn’t think my Kitchen Aid Artisan could handle that much. It maybe able to handle more, but half the recipe worked just fine. I will definitely make this bread again. Thanks for the great recipe!


  20. Margo Dilworth
    August 17, 2011 | 2:00 pm

    I was just wondering if it mattered what type of yeast you used? I haven’t made bread in about 6 years. Now, I want to try it and get our family of 8 onto homemade bread. I want my triplet 9 year olds to join in. I just need to know what type of yeast and I will give it a try.

    Thank you for your website. You have inspired me to keep “pressing on” with home school and I have felt less isolated thanks to your website.
    Thank you,


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Hi Margo,

    I just use regular yeast. I purchase it in bulk from Sam’s Club. I hope you enjoy making bread once again. It can be so quick and simple once you get into the habit.

    Thanks for your encouragement. It’s nice knowing we’re not alone.


  21. Kim
    September 23, 2011 | 1:49 am

    This looks so good! I’ve baked bread using bread machines but they seem to be too hard/crusty on top even I set it for low crust so I want to master baking bread by oven. I love baking and recently I started baking biscuits in the morning from scratch.
    Now I want to learn to bake pita bread (for pizza) and bagels. With your grain mill, how long does it take to grind wheat or other grains when baking? Also where did you get your grain mill? I’m going through a lot of flour so I’m thinking whether to buy bulk flour or not (but I’m not sure of the storage issues- long term storage might attract bugs in FL). Thank you.


  22. Rachel B
    February 16, 2012 | 5:45 pm

    I think we have a winner! I’ve been looking for a good basic whole wheat bread recipe and have had inconsistent results with several others. This turned out BEAUTIFUL!! I did halve the honey and after reading the comments I’ll probably halve the oil as well. Those two ingredients get expensive! 😉 Thanks for a great recipe!


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