This recipe is adapted from a recipe book that belonged to my mom: The All New Purity Cook Book. (Okay, it was new in 1967…and Purity is a brand of flour).
Just like the Porridge Bread recipe, I’ve adapted this to lower the sodium, and change to healthier fats.
Dissolve 10ml / 2 tsp. sugar in 250ml / 1 c lukewarm water. Sprinkle with 30 ml / 2 tbsp. / 2 packets active dry yeast. Let stand in a warm place for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 375ml/ 1-1/2 c milk in the microwave or on stovetop, just til hot but not boiling.
Pour milk into a large bowl (I mean large: needs to hold 4 loaves of dough!).
Add 75ml / 1/3 c lightly-packed brown sugar (or honey, or molasses…whatever you fancy) and 60 ml / 1/4 c oil – canola works well, or olive is nice in a savory bread. Then add 500 ml / 2 c lukewarm water.
When the yeast is ready, stir briskly with a fork and add to the lukewarm liquid in the large bowl. Stir.
With a wooden spoon (or your tool of choice – like an electric mixer on slow speed, although that’s no fun and usually makes a mess) beat in 1.5 l or 6 c of whole wheat flour. Then gradually work in 1.5 l / 6c white unbleached flour. (You can use rye or other whole grain flour in place of the whole wheat). When it gets so the white flour is too hard to mix in with the spoon, dump the whole thing out on a clean countertop and start working by hand.
Knead . (Use breadmakers like the ones at right). Push the dough away from you with the heels of the hands, then lift the front, fold back toward yourself, and repeat. Keep doing this, turning occasionally, til the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic, around 8 or 10 minutes. If you do it often enough, you will start to feel when it is done.
Let it rest on the counter while you quickly wash out and dry the large bowl (unless you are blessed with a plethora of large bowls). Coat the inside of the bowl with some of the same oil you used in the bread. Shape dough into a smooth ball and place in the bowl. Let rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for about 90 minutes, or less if the kitchen is warm – it should be double the size). Then shape into 4 loaves (round or regular, or buns, or long like baguettes…experiment) and place in greased pans.
When I make a four-loaf recipe like this one, I usually do something sweet or savory with the fourth loaf. In this case, one of the loaves has some sundried tomatoes and oregano sprinkled in, when I was shaping the loaves. You can also brush the top with egg and sprinkle on some seeds like sesame or poppy or sunflower just before baking.
The second rising, covered again with a clean tea towel, will take about an hour.
Then bake in preheated 400F oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Bread is done when you can tap the bottom of the loaf and it makes a hollow sound.
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