They say that a way to a man’s heart is his stomach, so why not fill your kitchen with a little romance? Grab your new hubby and get ready to explore and discover the delights of making meals together. Spending time in the kitchen while entertaining loved ones can also help newlyweds bond over making guests feel welcome in their new nest. When couples get cooking in the kitchen, love is definitely in the air.
Baking bread is a great way to start a culinary adventure not only because fresh bread makes the house smell so great, but also because it’s a long (and sometimes messy) process that could keep you and your honey in the kitchen for some time! Here we have a recipe for you to try that’s super healthy and easy to whip up.
100% Whole Wheat Bread
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup molasses
3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 packet rapid-rise yeast
¼ cup nonfat dried milk
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
In order to create a loaf that will keep longer and contain a greater complexity of flavor, we prefer a two-step pre-fermintation process.
- The process begins by combining 2 ¼ cups of the flour, ¾ cup of the water, and all the yeast into a medium bowl and mixing it together thoroughly until a semi-moist dough is formed. This dough will act as your sponge. Place clear plastic wrap over the bowl and place this into the refrigerator overnight, or for 8 to 12 hours. After the 8 to 12 hours has passed, take the sponge out of the refrigerator and set aside as you mix the main dough.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the remainder of the flour (1 ¼ cup) and the water (½ cup), as well as the Canola oil, molasses, dry milk, and salt. Place into a mixer fitted with dough hooks and start mixing. As this mixes, add the sponge to the dough. Continue to mix until both the dough and sponge are fully incorporated. (Roughly 5 to 8 minutes.)
- Let the mixture set for 20 minutes then mix again for another 8 minutes. At this point, the dough should be well kneaded and should start to build its gluten structure. As this gluten structure is created, the dough will become more elastic and will start to crawl up the mixer’s arms. To test the dough, pinch off a small piece and start stretching it outward along all its edges. The dough is ready for its first rise when you can stretch the dough to the point to being paper-thin without tearing.
- For the first rise, place the dough in another very-lightly greased bowl and place it in your oven. With the oven turned off, place a baking dish on a rack below the dough and pour scalding hot water in the pan. Close the oven door and let the warm humidity of the oven rise the dough for about an hour. The dough is ready when it has doubled in volume.
- After the first rise, lightly grease your counter and hands with cooking spray and place the risen dough on the counter. With your knuckles, mash out any air in the dough until it is spread out nice and flat.
- Next, take both ends of the dough and fold them towards the inside. Rotate the dough to where both of the folded ends are now on the top and bottom. Now fold the other two corners into the center. Repeat this process until you feel the dough become more and more elastic. (This should only take 1 to 2 minutes.) After working the dough, form it into a loaf and place it in an 8 ½”x4 ½” loaf pan. (Make sure that the size of your pan is 8 ½”x4 ½”. If you use a 9″x5″ pan, the dough will appear not to rise. In reality, the pan is too large.)
- Next, loosely cover the bread pan with lightly greased plastic wrap. Be sure to leave enough space for the bread to rise. This second rise is called bench proofing and is very important to the taste and consistency of your bread.
- Let the bread rise for about an hour or until the dough has risen/crowned about an inch and a quarter above the pan.
- During the last portion of the bench proof, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare some more hot water to add to the pan in the bottom of the oven. Once the oven has been pre-heated and the hot water has been poured into the pan/dish, place the loaf in the oven to bake for 45 minutes.
- After twenty minutes, loosely place a piece of aluminum foil on the top of the loaf to prevent over-browning.
- The finished loaf will register between 205ºF and 210ºF on an instant thermometer placed into the center of the loaf.
- Finally, remove the bread from the oven and turn it out onto a rack to cool. Be sure to cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Slice and enjoy!