Is there anything more wonderful than the scent and taste of homemade bread? Any time of year is a good time for a loaf of homemade bread but the cooler months just seem to scream for some hot bread, fresh from the oven, to accompany a bowl of hearty soup or stew. In this post I’m presenting my favorite whole wheat bread recipe to you.
The recipe for Sunflower Seed Whole Wheat Bread makes 3 beautiful loaves of bread. Sometimes I make 2 loaves and shape the remaining dough into hamburger buns. This dough makes delicious buns – hamburger, hot dog, hoagies – just shape them the way you want them!
I really like any equipment or appliances (what I like to refer to as “gadgets”) that help save time in food preparation. I have a Kitchen Aid Mixer that is 40 years old that is still a veritable workhorse! I use the Kitchen Aid mixer when I make homemade pizza dough. It handles the amount of dough for one loaf of bread or one pizza most efficiently.
But when I want to prepare a larger amount of dough, such as Sunflower Seed Whole Wheat Bread, which makes 3 loaves, I turn to my Bosch Universal Plus Mixer. The Bosch Universal Plus Mixer handles large quantities of dough with ease. In fact, I have a friend who bakes all the communion bread for her small church using her Bosch Universal Plus Mixer to make the required amount of dough.
Another favorite gadget used to make flour for homemade bread is a grain grinder. My husband bought an old Magic Mill grain grinder or mill off E-bay a few years ago to enable us to grind wheat berries into fresh whole wheat flour. The flour used in this recipe was ground from Hard Red Wheat, which has a somewhat nutty flavor, in my opinion. (Whole wheat flour from the store is fine, too. I just like doing this!)
The wheat berries are poured into the top compartment of the Magic Mill. The wheat berries travel down a hole to the grinding stones and come out as whole wheat flour into a pan.
Sunflower Seed Whole Wheat Bread
To prepare the dough, dissolve 2 tablespoons active dry yeast in 3 1/4 cups warm water, between 110° – 115°F. Another trusty gadget comes into use here – a food thermometer! I can’t tell the temperature of warm water by feel – I rely on a thermometer.
Once the water-yeast mixture becomes bubbly place it in the mixer and add 4 cups whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup bread flour, 1/3 cup oil (I like grapeseed), 1/3 cup honey, and 1 tablespoon salt.
Turn on the mixer and add the sunflower seeds and enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Often the weather determines how much flour is needed – I used a total of 7 1/2 cups flour in the Sunflower Seed Whole Wheat Bread dough today!
Allow the mixer to knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. The dough should not be sticking to the bowl. If you’re kneading the dough by hand, it will also take 6-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. I use the “proofing” setting on my oven, and it takes 30 minutes for the dough to double.
Punch the risen dough down and divide into 3 portions. Shape each portion into a loaf and place in a greased 8″ x 4″ loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350°F. for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Here’s the printable version of the recipe:
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast (or 2 1/4-oz. pkgs.)
- 3 1/4 cups warm water (110-115 degrees F.)
- 1/4 cup bread flour
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or other vegetable oil)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 6 1/2 - 7 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted (for brushing on loaves after baking)
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the bread flour, oil, honey, salt and 4 cups whole wheat flour. Beat until smooth.
- Stir in sunflower kernels and enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; divide into 3 portions.
- Shape into loaves; place in 3 greased 8" x 4" loaf pans.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Brush with melted butter. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
Just because I have a nice mixer that handles bread dough with ease I still use a bread maker for certain recipes, and I have one I want to share with you soon. Stay tuned!
Remember to Savor the Flavor and the Fragrance of Homemade Bread!
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