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Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread

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Talk of joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread—there may be.  –David Grayson

Amen to that!  There are few things better than the smell of baking bread… or a thick slice of warm bread right out of the oven with a little dab of butter.

Making bread is easier than you might think, especially with a good recipe.  I learned to make this bread recipe from my friend Cherie’s mother, Marilyn.  She is a legendary bread maker.  So when she offered a small class on bread making, I gratefully accepted.

Making homemade bread costs a fraction of buying store bought bread.  And because you are making it, you control the ingredients.  The recipe I use has whole wheat, oatmeal, wheat germ, and molasses… all healthy ingredients for my family.  And the kids love it… they think it’s a special treat.

I make bread in my Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine.  Bread is where my Bosch really excels.  You can make this recipe in a Kitchenaid, but you must cut the recipe in half.  The Bosch has the capacity for 4 loaves at once.  I am not familiar with other stand mixers, but if it has a bread hook, I am sure it can be used.

Here’s the recipe:

Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread (makes 4 loaves)

  • 5 cups warm water (110 degrees)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 3 Tbsp. dry active yeast
  • 8 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 to 4 cups white flour (may use all whole wheat if desired)
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup oatmeal

Mix warm water, sugar, salt, oil, and molasses.  Sprinkle yeast on top, stir once and let rest a few minutes until the yeast is dissolving and has a bubble effect.  Add 2 cups whole wheat flour, mix.  Mix dry oatmeal, wheat germ and and enough wheat flour to reach a thick pudding consistency.   When dough has reached this stage, knead with your mixer for 5 minutes.  Then continue adding flour while mixer is kneading, one cup at a time until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Amount of the flour will vary so don’t measure exactly, it is typically between 11 to 12 cups total flour.  Dough should be soft and still slightly sticky.  Knead with the mixer for 5 minutes.  Making sure the lid is loose on your mixer, let rise until dough is very soft to the touch, about 30 minutes.  Knead again for about 3 minutes to get the air out of the dough.

Grease counter with butter or shortening.  Turn dough out onto the counter and divide into 4 equal pieces.  Form loaves and place into 4 greased bread pans.  Let rise 20 – 30 minutes.  Do not let them over rise.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

Click on over to Tasty Kitchen for the Printable Recipe.

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I start with Hard White Wheat and grind it in a wheat grinder.  You can buy whole wheat flour, but it needs to be kept in the refrigerator or the freezer in an airtight container.  Even then it will only keep around 6 months.  Grinding my own wheat allows me to keep wheat in my food storage long term, and only grind small amounts of what I need for flour.

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After some research on which brand to buy, my husband purchased this Bosch Nutrimill Grain Mill for my birthday several years ago.  This brand does have a few drawbacks of being loud and occasionally sends out flour if everything isn’t seated correctly, but otherwise it does a wonderful job.

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1.  Mix warm water, sugar, salt, oil, and molasses.  Your water should be about a 110 degrees.  You can test it while you are learning with a candy thermometer if you are unsure.  I think of it as baby bottle warm- too cold and the yeast won’t activate and you will kill the yeast if it is too warm.  Sprinkle yeast on top, stir once and let rest a few minutes until the yeast is dissolving and has a bubble effect (see second picture.)

I usually do this step directly in my Bosch, but to show the steps better for the pictures I did it in the glass bowl.

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2.  Add 2 cups whole wheat flour, mix.  Notice that you should have the bread hook in your mixer.

3.  Mix dry oatmeal, wheat germ and and enough flour to reach a thick pudding consistency.  (Think yummy butterscotch pudding.) (Sidenote:  You can use all whole wheat flour in this recipe, or you can use 3 cups of white for a lighter textured bread.)

4.  When dough has reached the pudding stage, knead with your mixer for 5 minutes.

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5.  After the mixer has run for 5 minutes, start adding flour again while mixer is kneading, one cup at a time until it begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Amount of the flour will vary so don’t measure exactly, but it is typically between 11 to 12 cups total flour.  (I always keep track of how much flour I have added on a scratch paper with a tick mark.  Marilyn never even measures, she just adds until the consistency looks right.)  Stop adding flour when the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  The dough should be soft and still slightly sticky, but not so sticky that you can’t work it.

6.  Knead with the mixer for 5 minutes.

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7.  Making sure the lid is loose on your mixer (or it can break,) let rise until dough is very soft to the touch, about 30 minutes.  I thought you would get a kick out of the picture above.  That is what happens when you run to go pick up kids while making bread and the dough over rises.  It is forgiving though and I just gently turned on the mixer and it pulled it all back in.

8.  Knead again for about 2 minutes to get the air out of the dough.

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9.  Turn out dough onto a counter greased with shortening, butter or oil.  Bread dough hates cold, so my granite counter top is not the best.  If it is really cold I will put a hot pan on the counter to warm it up before I turn the dough onto it, or use a wood cutting board.

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10.  Divide your dough into 4 equal pieces and form into a loaf.  Place into a greased bread pan.  I love my Norpro Bread Pans which are 4.5 x 10 inches.  It makes a really nice loaf for slicing.

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12.  Cover pans with towel and let rise for 20 – 30 minutes.  Right after you cover the dough it’s time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  The picture shows the pans that have risen and are ready to go into the oven.

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13.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  The smell is heavenly… I wish you were all in the kitchen with me to smell it.

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You’ve just got to have a warm slice.  The rest of my family loves it with honey drizzled all over it.  Just butter for me thanks.

You can store any bread that won’t be eaten within a 3 or 4 days wrapped tight in the freezer.

Once you’ve learned how, making bread is really quite easy.  And when you’re eating a slice of warm bread… you’ll know it was worth the effort.

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10 Responses to “Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread”

  • Google Reader says you have a lot of subscribers today. The kitchen would be really full.

  • Ooooo, I haven’t made bread for a while. Yours looks so good I think I’ll have to bring out the Bosch that I inherited from my Grandmother to try out this recipe. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Its funny. We had 67 people for dinner on the night of the rehearsal for the wedding. My homemade bread got the most comments! Your bread looks wonderful.

  • Sue:

    Your bread looks fantastic! Do you use AP flour or bread flour?

    • I use Hard White Wheat to grind into flour. Don’t let the “white” in the name throw you… it’s still whole wheat flour. I prefer the Hard White Wheat over say a Turkey Red for bread. For the little bit of white flour I sometimes put in the recipe I do use a High Gluten Bread Flour. I just had a slice and it is wonderful bread if I do say so myself!

  • this is a great recipe! i make our bread weekly and am always up for a new recipe. thanks for this!

    btw- we have the same grinder! can you believe i found mine on a clearance table at our neighborhood hardware store for $50!?!?

  • That looks absolutely amazing! What a well done post, complete with lovely pictures of the process. Homemade bread is the way to go, especially when it’s from your own fresh ground wheat! Here’s my fave bread recipe: http://tinyurl.com/cd2vz9

  • nicole olsen:

    thanks a million for the recipe. i’ve tried making bread a few times, with disastrous results, and this one turned out perfectly! your pictures and clear directions were a great help. two loaves of perfect wheat bread cooling on the rack: this is one of my proudest moments.

  • [...] It’s hardy and delicious, and one of my favorite autumn weeknight meals.  I love to serve it with homemade buttered wheat bread. [...]

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