Whole Wheat Bread Version 2.0

My old stand by Whole Wheat bread recipe is still great and I'll still use it from time to time but this recipe is my new favorite.

This recipe, which I'll call Whole Wheat Bread Version 2.0, is more tender and holds it's moisture better. It also rises higher but I haven't figured out why.
It also makes killer cinnamon raisin bread but I'll get to that in a minute. First, the recipe...

Whole Wheat Bread Version 2.0

2 1/4 cups warm water
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp. salt
2 packages of active dry or instant yeast
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 1/2 Tbsp. Vital Wheat Gluten (opt. but really helps it rise)
5 1/4 - 5 3/4 cups of flour (I usually use 1 cup of All Purpose and the rest White Whole Wheat but use whatever combination you like using Whole Wheat flour and All Purpose)

I use mostly the same technique that I detailed in my original Whole Wheat Bread recipe here.

Here's an abbreviated version though just in case you don't want to click on the link.

In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients one at a time, in the order they're written, stirring well as you go. Mix by hand when it gets too hard to stir. Dump dough out onto floured work surface and knead until you're too tired or bored to knead anymore (7-10 minutes for me). Put dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel and set it in a warm place to rise. When it's doubled, punch down the dough and divide it in half. Knead each half a couple times and then form into loaves. Place each half into a greased loaf pan and set in a warm place, covered lightly with a damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap that has been sprayed with Pam.

(Above: I doubled the recipe and made 2 cinnamon raisin loaves and 2 plain)

(This differs from the technique I used previously because I'm not letting them rise in the oven)When the loaves have risen to about 3/4" above the edge of the pan, preheat the oven to 350*. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the bottoms of the loaves are medium brown. Turn the loaves out of the pans and place them on racks to cool.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Start with the same dough as above but when it's time to shape it into loaves after the first rising, roll the dough out into a large rectangle. I roll it as thin as I can because I like a lot of swirls in my bread. I keep the shorter side the same length as my pan so it will fit after I roll it (9").

After it's rolled out, sprinkle the dough heavily with cinnamon (no sugar, just cinnamon). Then sprinkle heavily with raisins. Roll the dough into a log and place it into a greased loaf pan, let rise, and bake as directed above.
This bread made the most delicious toast. We finished it in record time. Well, all except for Charlotte who didn't want to try it because it had "chunks"....and Evan who just wanted to pick the raisins out of his and eat them. Maybe I should have Evan pick the raisins out of Charlotte's and then maybe she'd eat it. Hmmm.....

Incase some of you haven't visited the Wild Yeast blog before, check out their yeast spotting page. I've found lots of great recipes and ideas there!