You pull a loaf of bread from the oven. Your kids are jumping up and down with excitement as the smell of bread wafts through the house. They might even fight over the heel.
Who doesn’t want their house to smell like a bakery and have people clamoring to eat it?
Soaked whole wheat bread, with butter melting into the still-warm slice is about as awesome as knowing everyone in your house is going to love it. Some people say that you have to wait to let your bread cool off for better structure, but then you miss out on that first amazing slice. It’s worth it.
You want to bake bread that is so good that kids are begging for it and even may be wondering why you make it. Like the time my friend Carrie texted me a funny story when we both still lived in Mexico.
Wait, you lived in Mexico? Yes- I was a missionary in Baja California for 10 years. My bread obsession was international.
Back to Carrie’s boys…
Carrie: I had to tell you something funny B said a few mornings ago.
“Can I have a piece of Katie’s bread? Why does she have to make so much bread?”
I told him why, he was confused, but didn’t try to figure it all out for very long ’cause he was so into chewing while he said,
“But this bread… oh wow… it’s just delicious!” Ha!
Yesterday M said he was hungery for a snack. When he saw your bread on the counter he started jumping up and down and said,
“Oh, Miss Katie’s bread. Miss Katie’s bread! Yes! I love that stuff!!”
That is what we all want right? Sometimes the youngest critics are our fiercest ones. Don’t you wish that everything you made was met with that kind of praise? I am right there with you.
I’m a bread snob.
I blame it on my mom.
She started making bread from scratch when I was a preteen. I’ve never looked at a loaf of bread the same way since. Some people think we are kind of crazy for how we make it… I’ll let you in our secrets because they are seriously game-changing.
The Secrets to Amazing From Scratch Whole Wheat Bread
1. Grinding the wheat
Using freshly ground wheat is hands down, the best thing you can do to make your from scratch whole wheat bread taste amazing. Whole wheat flour from the store is dense and bitter. Freshly milled flour is much lighter and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Plus it’s packed with more nutrients.
2. Using the soaking method
Since you clicked on this recipe you probably already know that you want to make soaked bread but if you are like, “Soaked bread? What in the world is that?” here is a quick rundown on why:
- Better texture
- More nutritious
- Easier on sensitive guts
- Better nutrition without needing to have a sourdough starter
Grinding your own wheat and soaking your flour makes all the difference when you are making bread from scratch. I love my sourdough starter but sometimes baking with yeast is what fits into my schedule better. Both soaking and sourdough are great for making your bread more nourishing. I have several recipes using both methods.
This recipe is versatile…
- Not in the mood to soak your bread? My mom doesn’t either. Skip the soaking step.
- In the mood for white bread? Substitute all or part of the wheat flour for white, I won’t tell… That’s how I made several batches of it a week in Mexico.
- Feel like nuts? Throw them in.
- In the mood for cinnamon bread? This works for that too.
- Double batch? You bet! You can freeze, sell it, or give a loaf to your neighbors. I’ve done all three. Giving bread away is a great way to meet more people on your block.
A good recipe should be easy to prepare, tasty, and fill bellies. That is the point of food after all. Simple, wholesome, and nutritious is how I like recipes to go most of the time. That is what this soaked whole wheat bread is.
Put a loaf in the oven and watch your people fight over the heel.
Soaked Whole Wheat Bread
Yield 3 Loaves
- 10 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 2 cup unbleached white flour (if needed)
- 3 3/4 cups water
- 1/4 cup acid medium (whey, lemon juice, kombucha, or apple cider vinegar)
- 1/2 cup olive or coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 4 tsp yeast
- 1 tsp honey
- 4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup ground flax seeds (optional)
- 1/2 cup sesame seeds (optional)
- Mix 10 cups of flour, the oats, 3 3/4 cup water, acid medium, oil, 1/4 cup honey, and egg. Cover and allow to sit out for at least 12 hours if following the soaking method. If not, cover and let rest for 20-30 minutes to allow the flour to absorb all the liquid.
- The next day (or after the 20-30 minutes), mix the yeast and 1 teaspoon of honey with the 1/4 cup of water in a small bowl. Allow to become foaming; this will take about 5 minutes. Add to the dough and mix in.
- Add the salt and ground flax seed and sesame seeds if using. If the dough seems too wet, add a 1/4 cup of unbleached white flour at a time until the dough is tacking but not sticky. I normally don't need to add more than 1 cup.
- Knead for about 10 minutes. I prefer to use a Bosch Mixer. You can also use a professional size KitchenAid or knead by hand. You will know that the dough is done if you pull of a golf ball size of dough and stretch it and it does not break. It should create what is called a "window pan technic" which is when you stretch the dough thinly, hold it up to the light and can almost see through it.
- Place in a dough in large greased bowl. Cover and leave to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
- Punch down and devided into 3 or 4 equal pieces. This will depend on the size of your bread pans. The recipe makes 3 large loaves or 4 medium loaves.
- Flatten each ball of dough to make a rectangle and fold in the sides. Flip the dough over and place it seam side down. Place the loaves in well greases bread pans.
- Cover and place in a warm location, and allow to rise until they double in size, this should take about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- To allow for a better rise and to make it look pretty, you can use a sharp knife or bread blade to slash the top of each loaf of bread three times, making a 1/2 inch cut.
- Bake for about 45 minutes or until the bread is golden brown. You can use a themomoter to check the internal tempature which should be about 195º.
- Turn the pans out onto a cooling rack. If you can resist,wait for the bread to cool to allow the bread to have a better structure. I never wait and always enjoy the heel fresh out of the oven, slathered with butter.
- Store in bread bags or resealble plastic bags. Store on the counter for no more than 2 days, then transfer to the fridge to prevent molding. The bread will last for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.