My first loaf of bread had an amazing crust and taste though we wanted something sweeter… and it didn’t rise very much. My second loaf of bread tasted amazing, had a softer crust and didn’t rise very much. My third loaf of bread… okay, you get the picture. My breads simply weren’t rising much at all and really I was ending up with dense, half-loaves. At first I thought it might be the milk as the original recipe called for regular milk and I use milk alternatives, but experimenting proved that wasn’t the case. Then I tried added/subtracting my “extras” such as nuts, seeds, etc. Nada. I even questioned our elevation as a factor but we’re not high enough for that to be the problem. FINALLY, I did some digging and discovered that it’s perfectly normal for whole wheat flour to not rise much! OH! So I was doing it correctly? Marvelous! Now how do I get it to rise? The answer…. vital wheat gluten. Yes, the very thing that is replacing the meat and soy in my diet apparently will help me get a lighter and higher loaf! Perfect!
So here’s the revised recipe, with my tweaks, to make a single small loaf of bread:
- 2.5 tsp granulated yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp and 1 tsp vital wheat gluten
- ¼ cup honey
- 2.5 tbsp neutral-flavored oil
- ¾ cups lukewarm coconut or almond milk
- ¾ cups lukewarm water
- 3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour (or 1 cup oat flour and 2 1/3 cups wheat)
- Parchment paper to line pan
- Mix the yeast, salt, honey, oil, gluten, milk and water in a 5-quart bowl or other container.
- Mix in the flour using a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Using wet hands, scoop out an 11⁄2 pound (cantaloupe-sized) hunk of dough. Keeping your hands wet (it’ll be sticky!), quickly shape it into a ball.
- Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. You’ll want enough dough to fill the pan slightly more than half-full.
- Allow the dough to rest for 2-3 hours (or till it rises completely and falls again). Flour the top of the loaf and slash, using the tip of a serrated bread knife.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with pan filled with water on the bottom shelf or of stove.
- Place the loaf in the center of the oven.
- Bake for 60 minutes or until deeply browned, firm and bread begins to pull away from sides.
Allow to cool completely before slicing in order to cut reasonable sandwich slices.