This is for Jen:
I made this every other day for years, using a Bosch mixer. And yes, it was way too much of a good thing. I am now very allergic to wheat flour. But it is wonderful bread and a very reliable recipe.
4 cups water -- 110 degrees
2 tablespoons yeast -- SAF instant is best
about 9 cups whole wheat flour, more or less (I sometimes use a
blend) I grind my own flour from Golden 86 wheat
½ cup vital gluten
½ cup olive oil
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons sea salt
In a large mixing bowl (I use a Bosch) place warm water, SAF yeast,
honey, oil, gluten, and 5 cups flour.
[If you are soaking overnight, just add water flour, honey and oil to
the bowl. Be prepared to use a little less flour than otherwise in the
morning. You have to play with this. Then add the yeast and gluten in the
morning and proceed.]
Stir to mix well, then cover and let sponge one or two hours, more time
makes the bread sour and sort of rancid and not in a good way. The
shortest sponge time is about fifteen minutes. I've done this in a pinch. Any
shorter, and the yeast won't be developed enough.
Stir to punch down; add salt. (I tend to forget the salt-without salt
your bread will over-rise. Salt checks the yeast. So, put the salt bottle on top of the covered bread while it's sponging, that way you won't forget.) Mix to blend; add 2 cups
flour and turn mixer on low. Add flour by 1/2 cupfuls until dough
cleans the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky. Knead on low speed 6-8 minutes. The
flour amount is approximate; use only enough flour to cause the dough to
pull away from the sides of the mixer bowl. Do not add more flour. The dough
should be a little sticky and you should require oiled hands to work with it.
Let dough rise in covered Bosch bowl about 30 minutes until doubled. Turn
machine on to punch down, let rise again in the bowl, then remove from bowl to
oiled counter, divide into four pieces.
Form loaves and place in greased and floured loaf pans (the smaller
ones, not the real big ones).
Let rise in warm oven (turned off) until 1 1/2" above the rim of the
With loaves still in oven, turn oven on and bake at 350 degrees for
Remove from oven and cover with clean towel to soften crust, if desired.