This recipe comes from our friend Jeff, who has elevated the recipe and process to an art form. He got a scale for Christmas a few years ago and found that weighing ingredients (as Europeans do) makes all the difference in producing consistent results with any baked good. He can attest to the store-bought-like perfection and texture of these loaves, and he’s been through hundreds of practice runs and adjustments to get the recipe to this point.
Yield: About 2 ½ pounds Ingredients/Additional Materials:
· 1 ½ pounds whole-wheat flour
· 3 ½ pounds white flour
· 1 ½ Tbsp yeast
· 1 cup vegetable oil
· 2/3 cup honey
· 1/4 cup molasses
· 3 egg yolks
· 1 ½ quarts water
· 2 Tbsp salt
· Stand mixer with dough hook
· Rolling pin
· 3 gallon stockpot or large mixing bowl
· Four standard loaf pans
· Plastic wrap
Warm the oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes and then turn the oven off but leave the oven light on. Combine the flours and yeast in the bowl of the stand mixer and mix well. With mixer on slow, add the oil, honey, molasses, and egg yolks. Next, add the water slowly and mix just until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the salt. Let the dough sit for twenty minutes before turning the mixer back on—this is theautolyzeperiod, which allows the water and flour to bend and helps produce gluten during kneeding. Turn the mixer on to medium and knead the dough for seven minutes. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface. Knead by hand until the dough is smooth, usually about four or five times. Place the dough in a well-oiled 3-gallon stockpot or large bowl and then turn the dough over so that the oiled side is on top. Cover the dough with a dishcloth and place it in the warm oven to rise for an hour. Punch down the risen dough and divide into four portions. Grease and flour four loaf pans.
Roll out one portion of the dough into a large rectangle, about 12 inches by 18 inches, and fold it into thirds like you would a business letter. Roll the dough out into a rectangle again and then roll it up tightly, beginning at one of the narrow ends. Seal the rolled dough by pinching along the seam, turning it over, and karate-chopping the ends. Place the loafs into a prepared loaf pan, cover it with oiled plastic wrap, and return it to the warm oven to rise for about another hour. Repeat the steps in this paragraph with the other three portions of dough.
When the loaves have risen well above the pan rims but are not slumping down, remove them from the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When the oven is ready, carefully remove the plastic wrap and slice a shallow groove, centered length-wise, in the top of each loaf with a sharp serrated knife.Bake the loaves for forty-five minutes on the middle rack. Remove the bread from the pans immediately after taking them out of the oven and let them cool completely—for at least two hours—before slicing, or you’ll have gummy bread.
Store whatever you’re not using right away in the freezer in plastic bags; the loaves will keep in the freezer for about two weeks. Defrost for about three hours on the countertop using.
This article was excerpted with permission from the book Urban Farm Projects: Making the Most of Your Money, Space, and Stuff, copyright 2014, I-5 Publishing, LLC. For more budget-friendly and environmentally conscience projects and recipes, pick up a copy today!