With my recent adventure on bread and its relatives, such as these Brioche Loaves, Overnight Honey Wheat Rolls, and then these Cinnamon Raisin Bagels, I feel like I am starting to feel more comfortable working with yeast. I wanted to make a simple whole wheat bread that are delicious but still good for you. The initial reservation that I had with this recipe was all of the “oddities” that it calls for, like mashed potato flakes, orange juice, and powdered milk. So… okay, these may be the standard pantry standard for some folks, but they are not in mine.
I had to be a little creative with this recipe. For the potato flakes, I substituted for potato flour. Yea, so who’s weird, right? Who has potato flour sitting around in their pantry? Well, I do. So the substitution goes like this: 1 cup of mashed potato flakes = 1/2 cup of potato flour. And for the powdered milk, I just substituted it with liquid-milk, and reduced the amount of water called for in the recipe. I was worried at first whether this would impact the final flavor, and I really couldn’t tell anything was “missing”. I had an issue with the dough rising, it took me well over 90 minutes to get it to almost double, and I used my dough hook in my Kitchen Aid mixer.
But the final result though was worth it! I love how tasty this bread was. It doesn’t taste like what you would expect for a commercial wheat bread. It was nice and firm, without being dry and crummy. This will hold up nicely in sandwiches or toasts. I will make this again in the future!
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
1/2 cup orange juice
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
3/4 cup instant mashed potato flakes
3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
Note: Use 2 tablespoons less water in summer (or in a humid environment), 2 tablespoons more in winter (or in a dry climate)
Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes, till it becomes puffy. If you’re using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
Combine the yeast/water with the remaining ingredients, and mix and knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—until you’ve made a cohesive dough. If you’re using a stand mixer, knead at low speed for about 7 minutes. Note that 100% whole wheat dough will never become smooth and supple like dough made with all-purpose flour; it’ll feel more like clay under your hands, and may appear a bit rough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise till it’s expanded and looks somewhat puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Dough kneaded in a bread machine will rise faster and higher than bread kneaded in a mixer, which in turn will rise faster and higher than one kneaded by hand. So if you’re kneading by hand, you may want to let the dough rise longer than 90 minutes.
Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Gently shape the dough into a smooth log, and settle it into the pan, smooth side up.
Tent the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaf to rise till it’s crowned over the rim of the pan by about 3/4″, about 75 minutes. Don’t let it rise too high; it’ll continue to rise as it bakes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake the bread for 10 minutes. Lightly tent it with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.
Run a stick of butter over the top of the hot loaf, if desired, for a softer crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.