Whole Wheat Wonder

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It’s no wonder why whole-wheat bread gets such a bad rap. Supermarket loaves are often dense, bland, and dry. Rather like chewing cardboard. Wheaty, clean, and balanced, this version is a shining example of what whole-wheat bread can be.

Makes 2 Loaves

2 1/3 cups warm water

1 package rapid-rise yeast

¼ cup honey

4 Tb. unsalted butter, melted

1 ½ Tb. salt

½ cup toasted wheat germ

¼ cup rye flour

2 ¾ cups whole-wheat flour

2 ¾ cups bread flour

In a large bowl, add flours, wheat germ, salt, and yeast. Blend with fingers to combine. Add water, honey, and butter to flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, mix dough until ingredients come together in a shaggy mess. Scape spatula clean with fingers. Continue to knead by hand until all ingredients are hydrated—dough will be sticky. Transfer to a clear plastic bin to rise (or just leave in the bowl and cover tightly).

Since this dough only takes 1 ½ hours to rise, you’ll need to fold it every 15 minutes. If you’re not familiar with this technique, all you do is pull the dough up and over itself 4 times. This counts as 1 fold.

After about 1 ½ hours, the dough will have doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, move rack to middle position, and grease two 9”x 5” loaf pans. Lightly flour your work surface and transfer dough onto it. Cut dough into two equal pieces. Pull the dough into a rectangle 9 inches across. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and place in the loaf pans, seem side down. Repeat with second loaf. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel. Proof for 45 minutes or until the dough barely springs back when pressed with a knuckle.

Transfer pans to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans halfway through the bake.

Once the bread is finished baking, take it out of the oven. When it’s cool enough to handle, pull bread from the pan and let finish cooling on wire rack.

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