You can’t make faster homemade bread–this is where I learned about “the sponge.” If you are yeast-averse, this is perfect for you because you just add it like any other ingredient. I’ve gotten so much mileage out of this recipe—no one believes it’s 100% whole wheat because of the texture. A big mixer with dough handle is handy for this, if you’re doing it by hand or on the “dough” setting of a smaller breadmaker, just split the recipe, it’s for 4 loaves.
Denise from the Country Baker(.com) says: “This is my basic standby sandwich bread. It’s very light and delicious.”
Have on hand:
5 pounds(18-20 cups) of freshly milled Prairie Gold Flour
In mixer bowl place:
6 cups hot water(120-130 degrees)
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup oil
5 cups of the flour
3 Tablespoons of SAF instant yeast
Mix above slightly and put cover on mixer. Let sponge for about 15-30 min. or longer. (the kids love to watch this, it’s a good science lesson)
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons dough enhancer(optional, produces a softer crust)
enough of the remaining flour until it cleans the sides of the bowl.
Once the sides of the bowl are clean, stop the machine and touch the dough. If it feels real wet, add a little more flour, maybe 1 or 2 cups if needed. Then knead for approximately 5-7 minutes on the lower speeds. Check for gluten development by breaking off a golf-ball sized piece of dough and stretching it real thin; if it produces ‘windows’ or parts of the dough that you can see through, then this is the developed gluten. If it just breaks apart in your hands, you need to continue kneading. However, if the dough starts to stick to the sides of the bowl, then you have overkneaded.
Take out and shape into four 8 inch loaves filling greased pans 3/4 of the way full. Cover with a tea towel and rise until double. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until done(200 degrees on an instant read thermometer stuck in the middle). Cool on wire racks. Brush tops with butter for softer crust.