This is one of our favorite bread recipes. Yeasts perform differently
at low temperatures. In this recipe, the dough is mixed the day before
and refrigerated. The acids and enzymes produced by the yeast at lower
temperatures temper the harshness of the whole wheat and develop
wonderfully complex bread flavors. It's no more work than other
recipes; you just mix the dough the day before.
Bakers note: This bread should be very light and fluffy, not dense.
The secret of making it so is to make sure that the dough rises fully
both in the first rise and in the pans. The dough will fill two 5 x
9-inch loaf pans and should be very soft and puffy before baking. If
you let it over-rise, you may see a blister or two in the dough. Poke
the blisters with the point of a knife and hurry the bread into the
1. Mix 1 package dry yeast in ¼ cup warm water, and let sit for 10
minutes in a small container.
Place about three cups of the flour in the bowl of a stand-type
mixer. Add the yeast. Carefully measure 1 ¾ cups room temperature (80F)
water. The water should feel cool to the touch. Mix the water
with the flour with a dough hook for 30 seconds or until the yeast is
dissolved and the ingredients begin to combine.
2. Add the salt, sugar, and oil and continue mixing. Add most of
the remaining flour, the wheat gluten, and dough conditioner and
continue mixing at a medium speed for at least four minutes adding
more flour as needed to reach a soft dough consistency. (It is
important that the dough be mixed for at least four minutes to develop
the gluten.) The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but will be
soft, not firm, to the touch.
3. Once the dough is mixed, place it in a large greased bowl, turning
once to coat both sides, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate
overnight or for up to three days.
4. On the day that you would like to bake your bread, remove the dough
from the refrigerator and let it warm to room temperature--about three
hours. The dough should rise to nearly double in size.
5. Once the dough has risen, form the loaves. Coat your hands with
flour and gently form a loaf by pulling the dough around itself to
create a slightly stretched skin. You may need to coat your hands
several times if the dough is sticky. If necessary, pinch the seams
together on the bottom of the loaf. Lay the loaf gently in a
well-greased loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat with the
second loaf. Let double again in size, about 2 hours.
6. Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the dough has doubled (the
loaf should be very puffy), place the two loaves on a shelf in the top
half of the oven, well-spaced so that air can circulate between the
loaves. Bake for 35 minutes or until done. The interior of the
loaves should register at least 185 degrees when an insta-read
thermometer is inserted through the bottom crust. Remove the bread
from the pans and cool on wire racks. Let it cool completely before