After some experimentation, and a return to the basics of just how flour and yeast work together, I've finally met one of my major food goals when it comes to bread making. I've come up with a satisfying 100% whole wheat recipe for the bread maker. It has a light crust and texture, and a gentle chew. The harsh tones normally found in whole wheat bread are greatly reduced.
I'm very excited about this. Now I can enjoy whole wheat bread – real whole wheat, not that stuff they call wheat bread in the grocery store – as daily bread.
We don't have to put up with mixing white flour with whole wheat flour for good results in the bread maker, anymore. We can increase our fiber intake and replace many of the simple carbs in our bread with more complex ones, and we don't have to give up fluffy texture or flavor.
1 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 teaspoon dough conditioner
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
Put the ingredients in the bread maker loaf pan in the order listed, or the order recommend by the manufacturer.* Use the whole wheat cycle, light crust.
When the cycle is complete, remove the bread from the pan and let it cool on a wire rack, covered by a kitchen towel, before slicing.
If you want a softer crust, try this secret trick. Once the bread has reached room temperature, place the loaf in a plastic bag and let it sit for an additional 30 minutes. This will ensure the remaining steam softens the crust.
*In this recipe I actually violated the manufacturers suggestions. Sort of. In baking, sugar can be though of as a liquid, so I put the oil, salt and sugar in with the water, and then put the flour in, over the top. My feeling was that this would more evenly distribute the sugar and oil throughout the dough, before the yeast hit it and started working. I wasn't wrong. This simple step actually mad the difference between a passable loaf, and a tasty one.