this was the whole wheat bread recipe of my dreams. And it is still a very good recipe. But now I have a new favorite.
Have you ever checked out Tammy's Recipes? Everything I've tried from her site has turned out fabulously, and the whole wheat bread is no exception. It tastes great, and the texture is always perfect, never crumbly, thanks to the gluten (I get mine from the bulk bins in my grocery store). It also lasts longer, because of the ginger used as a preservative.
Although I started with her recipe almost as written, over time, I have made a few little tweaks to better use what I have on hand. Here is my version.
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (optional)*
1/3 cup gluten
6 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons instant yeast
Combine water, milk, salt, sugar, oil, honey, ginger, and lemon juice. Add flaxseed, gluten, half the flour, and the yeast; mix well, until you see gluten strings forming. Add remaining flour until the dough holds together (you may need 1/2 cup more or less than the six cups called for).
Knead well, whether in a mixer bowl or by hand. (I like to use the mixing attachment of my KitchenAid for the mixing, then switch to the dough hook for kneading.)
Grease bowl, cover, and let rise until double. Grease three 8" bread pans (or two if you like larger loaves). Punch down and shape into loaves. Cover with a towel and let rise again, until double or until you like the shape of your loaves.
Heat oven to 375°F. Bake loaves for 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately (I run a knife around the edges first) and cool on racks.
*You can leave this out. Or you can change it up—it doesn't have to be flaxseed. Oats are nice. Once I added millet, which was very crunchy and interesting, or I've added little bits of flours I've wanted to use up, like rice flour or semolina. Anything goes, and the quantity here is flexible. Just add it before you add the flour, then you can adjust the amount of flour you use as the dough comes together at the beginning of kneading.