Wheat Bread

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I had never made bread without a bread maker until I moved to Laos 4 months ago. I decided to try it because the bread available here is white french bread. It’s ok bread, but not hearty enough for us. I thought that making bread would be hard, but I was pleasantly surprised. Now I enjoy making bread once a week.

1. Combine:

4 C flour

2 T yeast

2 t salt

1/4 C honey (or brown sugar)

1/4 C oil

2 1/2 C lukewarm water

2. Stir in 4 more cups of flour (1 C whole wheat flour, 1/2 C seven grain mix, and 2 1/2 C white flour). Other combinations of flours work too, but if you add more than 2 C of whole grain material, the dough gets hard to work with.

3. Pour 1 C flour on your kneading surface and knead dough until the dough has an even texture (about 10 minutes).

4. Cover dough with a cloth and let rise until it has doubled. I let mine rise in a cold oven because that’s the least drafty place in my kitchen. This usually takes about 1 hour, but it depends on the temperature. It’s not an exact science anyway.

5. Grease and flour pans while you’re waiting.

6. Punch the dough down.

7. Shape the dough into 2 or 3 loaves and let rise in the oven for another half hour or so. Good bread shaping advice and pictures: http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t–1120/creating-bread-shapes.asp

8. Turn on the oven to 375 F and bake 40-60 minutes. My oven is really imprecise, so I don’t actually know if it’s at 375 F. I just turn on the oven to high and then turn it down a little after about 15 minutes. I also don’t think it’s necessary to preheat the oven.

The bread is done when the crust is browned and the bread sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom of it. Let bread cool before slicing.

based on a recipe from The Wycliffe International Cookbook

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