I recently baked a batch of 100% whole wheat bread using a bread sponge (mixing part of the flour, water, and some yeast and letting it set for a while before you add other ingredients). It was the best bread I've made in a long time. The bread rose nicely and the bread had great structure. It was light but not crumbly. It was sturdy bread without being dense. I did more research on bread sponges and making a sponge improves the strength of the bread which is important in whole wheat breads since the bran pokes holes in some of the gluten that develops. Sponge Method Whole Wheat Bread
(yield: 4 loaves)
4 Tbsp. yeast
6 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup honey
~8 cups whole wheat flour (white whole wheat or traditional whole wheat)
In a large bowl, mix the above ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon for about 100 strokes. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. (about 1 hour).
2 1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil (not Extra Virgin)
1/2 cup honey
~7 cups whole wheat flour (white whole wheat or traditional)
*It can be tough to get the above ingredients worked into the sponge but just keep working at it and it will eventually mix together.
Knead for 10-15 minutes. Cover and let rise for ~50 minutes. Shape into 4 loaves and place in greased bread pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes). Preheat oven to 350*. Make 3 diagonal slits in the top of each loaf with a very sharp knife and bake for 35-45 minutes or until their internal temperature is 190*. Turn out onto cooling racks and let cool completely before slicing.
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