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Revised Bread Recipe

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:

Ingredients:

  • 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
Directions:
  1. Mix the yeast, salt, honey, oil, gluten, milk and water in a 5-quart bowl or other container.
  2. Mix in the flour using a spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer with dough hook.
  3. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
  4. 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.
  5. Drop the loaf into the prepared pan. You’ll want enough dough to fill the pan slightly more than half-full.
  6. 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.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with pan filled with water on the bottom shelf or of stove.
  8. Place the loaf in the center of the oven.
  9. 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.

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