Darryl Zoerb’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread

This recipe was sent to us by one of our customers in Lethbridge, Alberta.

2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil (olive, canola, avocado, etc.)
1/2 cup honey (or 1/4 cup honey + 1/4 cup molasses)
7 cups Highwood Crossing Organic Whole Wheat Flour
2  packets active dry yeast dissolved in 4 tablespoons of the water in the recipe
1/2 cup instant skim milk powder
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 egg, beaten with 2 tbs of milk

1) In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. For the easiest, most effective kneading, let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the bowl; this gives the flour a chance to absorb some of the liquid, and the bran to soften. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and shape it into two 8″ loaves. Place each loaf in a lightly greased 8-1/2″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pan.  Brush the top of each loaf with the lightly beaten egg/milk mixture, then ‘cut’ the top of each loaf 3-5 times, diagonally, to a max. depth of 1/2″.  Cover each pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or until the centre has crowned about 1″ above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped. The finished loaf will register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the centre.

5) Remove bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavourful crust. Cool before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature – or slice it up completely and freeze it for later use.

Yield: 2 loaves.