I am so eager to share this recipe with you! I have been baking our family's bread for nearly ten years now. In that time, I've tried a lot of different methods and recipes, including a few "soaked" and sourdough breads. (What is soaking grains?)
I can usually get a really nice, sliceable loaf of 100% whole wheat bread by using normal bread making procedures. However, I want to make a soaked loaf for its health benefits. I have had trouble with soaked breads crumbling before I can make them into a sandwich. Or, they crumble as you lift them to your mouth. In addition to sliceability, I also need a method that is quick. I'm here to tell you... making enough bread for my family takes a lot of time. Figuring on 8-10 sandwiches a day, that's 6 loaves a week! (My husband and Spiderman always eat two; Rainbow and I usually have one and a half... then the little girls... it adds up.)
I have been searching for a way to make enough sliceable, soaked bread for my hungry family WITHOUT bread baking commandeering my life. You can imagine my excitement with Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Really, it took me 30 minutes over a 48-hour time frame to make four loaves of bread and rolls. It would take considerably less time if I wasn't grinding my own grain. I didn't believe the title at first, but after making the quick master recipe, this bread REALLY only takes 5 minutes.
One more thing before I get to the recipe. The book includes an abundance of really helpful information and a multiplicity of tempting variations. Being the practical-mind that I am, I've just zeroed in on the bread we will eat on a daily basis. I highly recommend purchasing this book both for the troubleshooting help and for the extra recipes. Personally, I am looking forward to trying out the bagels and pretzels!
For six loaves of 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, you'll need the following ingredients. You can cut this in half if you only want three, but bread freezes well, so why not six?
- 3 cups of lukewarm water
- 3 cups of lukewarm milk
- 3 Tbsp. yeast
- 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup of honey
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. EVOO (that's extra virgin olive oil)
- 13 1/3 cups of whole wheat flour. Because my flour is freshly ground and not yet settled, I have had to increase this to 14 cups.
First, you are going to make your master recipe. In the following pictures, I used my mixer to combine the ingredients. Honestly, I probably won't use it again. There is no kneading to do, and the dough is really wet. So, it is more simple to combine the ingredients with a wooden spoon in the bucket I will use for storing the master dough. It is easy to mix by hand and then I won't have to wash all the parts of my mixer!
To make the master recipe, mix the milk, water, yeast, salt, honey and oil in a 5-quart container (or the larger container you will store your dough in). If you don't have a mixer this big, don't worry because like I said, it's really easy to combine by hand.
Once the dough mixture is all wet, you're done. Making the master recipe is that simple. Grinding my wheat took about 15 minutes. Measuring and combining the ingredients took about 5 minutes.
Once the first 6 ingredients are combined, mix in the flour. Don't knead. Just stir until the dry ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated. The dough will be very wet. If you have experience in breadmaking, you will be tempted to add more flour. But don't. According to the book, a stiff dough prevents rising whereas a wet dough allows the yeast to create nice air pockets. And again, the book stresses: "Do not knead." Here is my mixer doing the job:
The next step is letting the dough rest. Cover, but not airtight, in a large container and allow to rest at room temperature for two to three hours. Here is my bucket... the book gives suppliers for nice containers made especially for dough storage, but I am just using a three-gallon bucket with the lid placed on top but not closed tightly. A five-gallon bucket might have done fine, but would be hard to put in the fridge. You'll see in these next two pictures that you need to have plenty of room for expansion!
You will know that the initial resting is done when the dough rises to a round top and then flattens again... like it popped. Here, it is still rounding up. It flattened just near the top of my bucket, which was covered until I snapped this picture.
These rolls were perfectly delicious right out of the oven. The loaves need to cool completely before slicing so they hold together when cut thinly. Here are our rolls... YUM-O!