I have tried many times to bake whole wheat bread. I’ve used recipes from the bag of whole wheat flour and from the internet. I seem to churn out whole wheat BRICKS instead of bread.
I gave up on the whole bread baking deal for a few years, then when I went grocery shopping last week, I
was shocked and disgusted with the price of a 12 inch Boboli pizza crust- 3.50!?!?!?!?!?!? So I bought a container of active dry yeast and made pizza dough myself. I used this recipe from Cooking Light and it turned out fine. BUT it was WHITE flour.
So I decided to try baking whole wheat bread again. I used the KitchenAid Mixer’s recipe for whole wheat bread- 5-6 cups of flour, 4.5 tsps yeast, 2 c warm water, 1/3 cup brown sugar, a lil salt, 1/3 c oil… you get the idea.
Things were looking pretty good. I let the dough rise in my oven, which I turned on and then off, to get that “magic” but elusive 85 degrees.
I punched the dough down, shaped into loaves (one was a little bigger than the other, whoops) and let them rise again.
Then I baked them according to the instructions- 15 minutes at 400 and then 30 minutes at 350.
This is what happened. A wrinkly crust and a very dense loaf.
I troubleshooted on Breadworld.com and my problem (or at least one of them) is that I let the dough rise at too warm of a temperature.
OK Guilty. I kept the temp at about 100- 120 by turning the oven on to 200, then letting it get to 130, then turning it off. A hundred times. But I was afraid it wouldn’t rise at all! And I don’t know where I am supposed to get an area of my house 85 degrees. It’s NEVER 85 degrees here except in the summer. And it ain’t summer yet.
On top of it all, I was completely exhausted from the bread baking fiasco yesterday. I kept running up and down the stairs to peek on the bread and the sheer anticipation of success or failure sapped my strength. My husband, the ever positive encourager, even quietly suggested that maybe I should give up whole wheat bread dream. He reasoned that perhaps we don’t have the right equipment, like a brick fired oven or something. It’s only 3.69 to buy it at the store and that may be worth it.
What do I do? How can I fix this? I just want to make homemade whole wheat bread that is yummy and good and healthy and all that jazz.
Bread bakers of the blogosphere, please rescue me. I’m sending out an S.O.S.