Thursday, February 2, 2012

Whole Wheat Bread, sweetened with molasses

Sweet sassy molassey! I just really wanted to type that and luckily for me, today I made up a loaf of sandwich bread sweetened with molasses. So I have an excuse (although perhaps there is no real reason to ever say that).

I have a nice, smaller Zojirushi bread machine and it does pretty good work. My only complaint is that my go-to recipe for it, a 100% whole wheat bread, is pretty dense. I had a bit of extra time this morning and found this recipe. It turned out awesome, there's no refined sugar or flour in it, and bonus--no kneading and only one rise! I used the dough hook on my stand mixer to do the kneading for me.

I used the molasses option to sweeten, which is just sweet enough and gave the loaf a pretty hue, almost a pumpkin bread color. I'm excited to try the other sweetener options.

Thanks to King Arthur flour for this awesome recipe!

Whole Wheat Bread

1 to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups King Arthur Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast, or 1 packet active dry yeast, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/4 cup nonfat dried milk
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
*Use the greater amount in winter or in a dry climate; the lesser amount in summer or a humid climate.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine programmed for "dough" or "manual.") Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or large measuring cup, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center.

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.

Yield: 1 loaf.

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