Waking up at 4:30 in the morning, oven alerting the baker to the first batch of fresh bread coming out of the oven — that is what I most remember about the holidays. My dad would hum and gallivant in the kitchen between mixing bread dough, basting loaves that were heading into the oven, and taking fresh loaves out as the midnight hour passed. He loved doing this throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. It was a time to make extra money, and he loved socializing and giving gifts. This bread baking was a pure delight for him. I absolutely loved the holidays because of this tradition.
Keeping this memory dear to my heart has inspired me since his passing to continue this tradition. So for the Council’s annual Christmas Party, it was only natural that I would think to bring homemade bread.
And that is what I did this year. I can carry on this tradition with love in my heart, just like my feelings for him. It is a gift to bake bread with the best ingredients available, kneading the dough by hand, and benefitting from the smell that permeates the home. The best part is pulling warm bread apart and dabbing it with soft butter. I love it!
I have not often tried baking 100% whole wheat bread, but I did for the party. I thought I would dread kneading 100% whole grain flour because in the past, I have stopped mid-way because it was just too tough. Whole wheat flour makes a really dense bread and often is too tough for me to work, but this year, it was a delight. I got lost in the kneading, as I met the need for bread at the Christmas party. Several people commented on how good it tasted, so I decided to share the recipe that I put together. I kind of just winged it as I was making it, but hopefully it will come out great for you. I hope you enjoy the recipe below!
100% Whole Wheat Grain Bread
1 or 2 cups of whole wheat grain bread with 1ish tablespoon of yeast mixed in
2 teaspoons (ish) of salt
2.5 teaspoons of yeast in 1 tablespoon of palm sugar in 1 cup of warm water
1/3 cup of ghee (or oil)
4 cups (ish) of whole wheat grain flour
Put the two cups of flour and dry yeast together, add the salt. Add 1 cup of warm water. Stir. Add the yeast that is in water. Stir. Add some drizzles of molasses. Stir. Add 1 more cup of flour. Three cups should be in the bowl at this point. Warm the ghee on the stove. Mix this with a bit of flour before pouring in because it could be too hot and will kill the yeast. Stir.
Now it should be thickening up because of the flour. At this point you should have about four ish to five cups of flour. Take out another cup of flour and pour on the counter, spread it out. Dump your mixture on there and start kneading. I kneaded for 10 minutes. Then I let it sit for 1 hour. I kneaded it again for about 5 minutes. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then rolled it into a loaf, and put it on the pan to bake. I put in three slits with a knife. Sprinkled salt, rosemary, and thyme on top and I put it in the oven for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Put a pan with water underneath, to help the dough to continue to rise while baking.