I searched and searched for the perfect bread recipe. I was being pretty picky as I looked....it had to have whole wheat, it had to be soft (I hate dry wheat breads that are hard to eat and crumbly), and I didn't want refined sugar in the recipe. After trying about 6 or 7 recipes, this is the one I found. It originally called for all whole wheat, but I wanted it a little bit lighter, so I did half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. I've experimented a lot with different wheat varieties in this recipe - the recipe posted below is my favorite version. The vital wheat gluten is essential in making the bread lighter and less crumbly, it seems to keep the bread soft too so it's good throughout the week instead of just the day you make it.
I do grind my whole wheat with a NutriMill. They says what is best freshly ground, and I agree, but I usually grind enough to fill a 2-3 gallon bucket. I do this because I use whole wheat in almost everything I make. If you don't have a wheat grinder, you can buy whole red or white wheat ground in the bulk section of most grocery stores, but it's just not the same.
Honey 1/2 Whole Wheat Bread
Adapted from Cooks.com
3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (1 C. Red Wheat 2 C. White Wheat)
1 TBSP Vital Wheat Gluten
2 TBSP Yeast (I use the rapid rise-SAF brand)
2 1/2 Cups Warm Water
In a large mixing bowl (preferably Kitchenaid or BOSCH mixer), add the 3 cups of flour, wheat gluten, and yeast. Stir. Add in warm water and stir until combined. Let sit for 10 minutes.
1/3 C. Oil
1/3 C. Honey
1 1/2 TBSP Lemon Juice
1 TBSP Salt
3 1/2-4 C. All-Purpose White Flour
Mix the oil, honey, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture after the 10 minutes. Mix until combined. Add in the additional flour and mix. Now knead the dough for 10 minutes with the dough hook. When it is done divide the dough into 2-3 loaves. Make sure they are even. Shape them into loaf form. Place the dough into 2 large loaf pans or 3 small loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with a clean towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After the loaves have risen, bake them for 30 minutes. They should be golden brown. Let cool before slicing, if you can wait :)
I prefer doing 3 small loaves, otherwise the bread is too big of slices for the toaster putting a sandwich in a sandwich bag. This bread freezes great, I usually do 3 loaves and freeze two and keep one out to use!