I have a confession to make. I am a bread addict. Give me a chunk of crunchy chewy whole grain bread or a slice of fresh artisan bread and I am in heaven.
The good news is that quality breads are readily available for purchase almost everywhere these days. The bad news is that they are super expensive. The answer to this good news bad news situation is easy: bake your own bread! Okay, I get it but who has the time for that?
The answer? We all do!!
Lucky for me, I have some easy, one bowl bread recipes up my sleeve and have made them often. Alas, they have always been made with store-bought flour and although I have tinkered with half white and half whole wheat flour, I have been chicken to go with 100% whole wheat.
This being the new year and a time for resolutions, I decided to change my ways and start making bread using 100% whole wheat flour that I mill myself using a WonderMill Electric Grain Mill. (I also have the manually operated Wondermill Jr. Deluxe, but I will save that story and adventure for another day.)
Before we go on, let me say that this bread is equally delicious when made with store-bought white or bread flour. The recipe is extremely forgiving so if you don’t want to grind your own wheat (or don’t have a grain mill), you can still make this bread.
Why Should Peppers Learn to Make Bread
Aside from the aforementioned cost savings which are significant, the time may come when store-bought bread is no longer available. This will definitely be the case following any sort of natural disaster or disruptive event.
By stockpiling some very basic ingredients, we will be able to bake bake rib-sticking breads to accompany our meals. Now granted, yeast does have a limited shelf life but, with proper storage, it should still be good for two years and possibly longer. If in doubt, you can test your yeast using these well written instructions at the Red Star yeast website.
For the long term, breads can be made using a sourdough or sourdough-type starter but again, that is also a story for another day.
How to Make 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread
The first step is to mill the wheat. I like to use Hard White Wheat because it has a lighter, less intense flavor than the Hard Red. From experience, I know that it is best not to use warm flour so I mill my flour the night before I plan to bake. I use the setting for “Bread” flour which is a bit more course than the finer, “Pastry” setting on the WonderMill.
This is what your freshly milled flour will look like.
Remember when I said this was easy? Here is the recipe.
Easy English Muffin Bread
2 3/4 cups warm water
3 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 Tablespoons salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar (or raw sugar)
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour milled from hard white wheat
Note: You can also make this bread using standard white, unbleached flour or even bread flour. It is very forgiving.
It helps to set your ingredients out in advance
Dump all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix by hand with a spoon. The dough will be sticky and lumpy but not to worry, that is exactly what you want. Mix for three or four minutes at the most.
The dough will look “rough” and goopy. That is just fine!
Cover the bowl with a towel and set in a warm place to rise. Depending on the temperature in your home, this first rise will take 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
When the dough is about double in size, remove the cover and stir it back down. Immediately ease the dough into 2 loaf pans.
Once again, set the dough aside and allow it to rise until it reaches the top of the pans.
After the second rise, it starts to look like bread instead of a blog.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and generously brush with melted coconut oil (or butter if you prefer). Let cool about 10 minutes then turn out of the pan.
This is not a high-rising bread. But, it is nice and even. Perfect for toasting!
Cool completely before cutting. This bread is incredible toasted and topped with butter, jam, honey, or good-for-you coconut oil.
Pardon me while I take a snack break!
That’s all there is to it. I hope you enjoy your home baked, 100% Whole Wheat English Muffin Bread. Not only is it easy to make, but there is minimal clean up. What more could you ask for?
The Final Word
My reasons for sharing this article on making baking bread are two fold.
First of all, more than one reader has recently sent an email asking for easy bread making recipes that can be prepared with a minimum of equipment. While I admit that I did use an electric WonderMill in this recipe, I could have easily used regular, store bought flour. All mixing is done by hand and there is no kneading or shaping involved. This is the perfect recipe for beginning bread bakers.
Second, I was invited by WonderMill to participate in their Grain Mill Wagon challenge. As a guest contributor, I shared this recipe on their website, and will soon be sharing a recipe for Banana Bread (using flour milled by hand) and also Buttermilk Bread. If you are interested in taking a look, visit my article at the Grain Mill Wagon website.
And finally, I recognize the importance of learning to bake for long term survival purposes. Baking bread is one of those pioneer skills that I want to hone and perfect. This includes baking breads such at this one outdoors in a Dutch oven or even a Sun Oven. It also includes learning to make a sourdough starter and maintaining the long-term viability of that starter. If I learn, you will learn. It is as simple as that.
Experienced baker or not, I do hope you will give this bread a try. It is utterly delicious and you may have to take a few extra laps around the block to work it off but it is so worth it!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: Today I feature items that will get you started baking bread as well as milling your own flour with the WonderMill.
Silicone Bread and Loaf Pan Set of 2: Although I did not have these in time for this recipe, I did use these silicone baking pans for my Banana Bread. Warning: you will become hooked. These were so easy to use and cleanup was a snap. I have two and am ordering two more.
Danish Dough Whisk: I like to use this whisk when mixing bread dough although a spoon will work fine too. This gizmo makes mixing up the dough a lot – and I mean a lot – easier.
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking: At an average cost of 50 cents a loaf, this bread is easy, delicious and inexpensive to make. Making your own bread is a skill everyone should have.
WonderMill Grain Mill: The WonderMill is the quietest and fastest flour mill available. You can create super fine flour or coarse flour at temperatures that preserve nutrients, ensuring that you will always have the perfect flour for your food. The WonderMill will not only grind wheat, rice and other small grains, but will also grind legumes and beans as large as garbanzos. It is extremely easy to use – simply fill the hopper and you’ll get flour.
Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain / Flour Mill by Wondermill: I struggled with the decision whether to go manual or electric. Now I have both. The advantage of the Wonder Junior Deluxe is that it does not need power. In addition, because the grinding mechanism can be cleaned, you can use it to grind nuts, coffee and a variety of seeds (as well as wheat and legumes, of course).
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