This recipe is the not only the basic recipe I use for all of my whole wheat breads, it is the base of all my whole wheat bread recipes...if you master this recipe the variations from this are nearly limitless. This is also an excellent example of artisan bread being made with only whole wheat flour. I use a few more ingredients in this recipe than in the most basic of them all--four ingredient bread--but I prefer this one. And while the Ezekiel Bread recipe and Brown Rice bread may have more substance to them, they also require more time and a bit more effort...this bread, on the other hand, is simple to make (but not simple in flavor). This recipe is also an excellent example of my theory that bread nearly makes itself...we--the bakers--simply combine the ingredients and guide them along. This can be baked free-form (as pictured in this post) or in loaf pans for a more traditional sandwich bread.
100% Whole Wheat Bread
Makes 2 loaves
6 cups whole wheat flour, divided
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
3 cups water, divided
4 teaspoons instant yeast, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
Separate the ingredients in two bowls using this ratio: In one bowl combine 4 cups of flour, the vital wheat gluten, and 2 cups of water. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. In a second bowl, combine the remaining 2 cups flour and 1 cup water and 2 teaspoons of yeast. Stir it just until combined; cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Allow the bowls to rest for at least an hour. After the ingredients have rested and have begun to ferment, combine the contents of both bowls to an upright mixer that is fitted with a dough hook. Also add the remaining ingredients: the salt, olive oil, honey, and remaining two teaspoons yeast. Knead the dough on medium speed for about 8 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for one hour. Transfer the dough to a work surface, cut it into two pieces, gently shape it into loaves, and place them either on a baking sheet or in loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat an oven to 425F/218C. If making free-form loaves, slash them with a razor just before they go into the oven. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on. As the bread bakes roate the loaves in the oven once or twice to ensure even baking. Remove the bread from their pans and allow to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.