Having 5 children, we eat A LOT of bread. Sandwiches alone, we go through about 4 loaves a week between the 7 of us! Buying bread was fine, until the cost of the cheap stuff rose over $1 at day old bread stores, so I decided to start making my own. When my son came along and we found he couldn't handle milk, it then became a hunt for a milk free recipe!
Since I couldn't find the perfect whole wheat recipe, I took a few that were ok, threw them together, did some tweaking and came up with my own. It's taken years of trial and error, but I think I have it!!
This recipe freezes well, and take very little time to thaw. It also slices very well. I get super thin slices that do not fall apart. Perfect sandwich bread!!!
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Brown sugar (honey can be used as a substitute)
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dry active yeast
- 4-6 cups whole wheat flour (I have a grain mill and make my own flour)
- 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup applesauce
Dissolve 1 tablespoon brown sugar in warm water in mixer bowl. Add yeast and let mixture stand for about 15-20 minutes.
Add wheat flour, vital wheat gluten, and 1/3 cup brown sugar and salt. Using dough hook, mix together well. Add applesauce. Mix thoroughly. Dough will stick to dough hook and form a slightly sticky ball. If too sticky (as to stick to your hands), add more wheat flour, 1/4 cup at a time.
Cover and let stand until dough has doubled in size. Beat down, repeat.
Divide dough in half, rolling into loaf shapes and place in well greased loaf pans. Let rise until double in size.
Bake at 400* for 15 minutes, and then turn down to 350* and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.
I always double this recipe. After cooking, I will cool loafs until they are easy to handle and slip them into sealable bags. This helps keep the crusts soft.