I have had many people ask me for my 'famous' bread recipe, and instead of emailing it to people when they ask for it, I have decided to just post it here. Every Lent I get requests, so here it is again! While I do make this bread by hand, I also cheat on busy days and use my Kitchen Aid mixer to do the kneading for me, as it takes far less time
Poppe's Perfected Wheat Bread
3 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour (I use non-GMO, organic Prarie Gold. Prarie Gold has the best balance of protein resulting in a finely formed loaf of bread)
2 cups warm water
2 Tbl instant dry yeast
1/3 to 1/2 cup honey
2 Tbl wheat gluten
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 Tbl apple cider vinegar
(Note: You may substitute the powdered milk and vinegar with either plain or vanilla yogurt for a similar texture. 1/4 cup does the trick for me)
Use the paddle and mix on low until gluten is well formed. This mixture will resemble moist cookie dough at first. But as it mixes, you will notice that the gluten texture begins to 'spider web', meaning the dough will begin to bond together and stretch instead of breaking apart right away. This is the gluten beginning to form. Soon the dough will take on a bubblegum like texture and you might have to cut it away from the paddle. This is what you want! When you have found this texture, add another half cup of flour, mix it in for about 3 minutes and let it rest for 20 minutes. I recommend you remove the paddle and install the dough hook before it rests, as the dough will rise and can get messy if you wait.
After the 30 minutes, the dough should be pretty puffy. Add:
1/3 cup oil
1/2 tsp salt
I used to use canola oil because it has absolutely no taste and allows the yummy nutty-wheat taste to come through in the bread. However I know that canola is a huge health no-no and I now use organic palm kernel oil instead. I do not recommend coconut oil, as it leaves a subtle coconut taste. I have also tried about 2.5 Tbl butter (not margarine!) with a splash of olive oil with good results. If you just use the coconut oil in this recipe the bread is still good but there is a texture issue that needs to be fixed. I'll let you know what needs to be done if I figure it out!
Knock this around with the mixer until it is well incorporated. Then add more flour, half a cup at a time, until the dough is slightly sticky but not so sticky it is messy to handle.
Do not use more than 6 cups total in this recipe or your bread will be super dry and blah.
Let your mixer work the dough for about 20 minutes and the dough can pass the stretch test. It won't be as bubblegum-like as before, but if you flatten it out and sllllooooowly stretch it, it should almost double in size before it breaks. If not, knock it around on the slowest speed for another 10 minutes.
Divide into 2 equal sized loaves and set into 2 greased loaf pans. Cover and let it double in size (anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the weather)
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Cover tops with foil if it is browning too quickly. When time is up, use a meat thermometer and take the bread's temperature in the center of the loaf. Dead center temperature should be 200 degrees. Any reading cooler than that and you might get a raw center. (Blech!) If it is not done yet, continue baking and recheck temperature every 5 minutes.
When it is done, let them sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Pop the loaves out of the pans and brush the entire loaves with butter to soften the crust. Slice and eat!
We eat these at dinnertime. Any leftover bread is saved and used for delicious Frenchtoast the next morning. Leftover bread also tastes great as hot buttered toast or garlic cheesebread. I do not recommend you keep it around for more than 24 hours, as the wheat begins to ferment and it takes on a slight beer aftertaste. There is nothing 'wrong' with the bread, but the taste is not so good for kids.