Six years into my bread experience, I desired to make whole wheat bread. As a nutrition student, I felt the white bread my husband and I were living off of surely wasn't giving us the fiber or nutrients we needed, homemade though it was. Naively, I bought the whole-wheat flour and stirred up my first batch, thinking that with my bread experience, it would be simple. I pulled out a loaf reminiscent of my beginning trials of making bread, only it was much more crumbly. Humbly, I stored away the whole-wheat flour and went back to our white bread ways.
Then, a county extension office announced a "How to Make Whole-Wheat Bread" class. I sat amazed as the instructor folded a piece of her whole-wheat bread in half, only to have it spring back, uncracked, and still in one piece. I came home, utilized my new-found knowledge, and even set a timer to make sure I kneaded that whole-wheat dough for 20 minutes! Talk about exercise! The effort paid off. Now we only eat whole-wheat bread on a daily basis, and save the white flour treats for special occasions.
As knowledge is seldom contained, the bread lessons I learned from that extension class and from reading the works of bread chefs spilled over to improve my white bread, too. I think you'll find the following tips informative whether or not you prefer to bake whole-grain or white bread. This knowledge will also increase your creativity in bread making. You'll find that by alternating the ingredients in a good basic recipe, you can avoid bread humdrum by mixing up a variety of nutritious, flavorful, and matchless loaves.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *