The ladies in my family are classic bakers. And when it comes to bread, they are fierce bakers. Here is my family’s favorite recipe for no-fail whole wheat bread, which can be a notoriously tricky recipe to get right. A little gluten tossed into the mix, a lot of whole wheat pastry flour (which can be purchased in the bulk bin aisle at Whole Foods and is well worth the extra trip for this ultra-fine flour) makes for three splendidly wondrous loaves of bread that you simply can’t get wrong.
No Fail Homemade Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups very warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
1/3 cup agave
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup gluten
8-9 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup light-tasting olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast, and agave. Add the salt, then stir in the gluten, 5 cups of the pastry flour and 1/4 cup of oil. Let sit, covered with a damp rag, on top of your preheating stove, for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
Sprinkle a cup of flour over your dough, then slowly start to knead the dough right in your bowl, adding just enough flour to make the dough manageable and slightly sticky, but not impossible to handle. Turn dough onto a flat, floured surface and knead with whole wheat flour until soft but not overly sticky. Divide into three loaves. Place in greased, 9×5″ loaf pans, drizzle with remaining oil, and allow to rise until the dough has risen about an inch above the pans.
Bake in preheated over for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with fresh butter and honey.