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The first thing that I ever baked was whole wheat bread and it was a total flop! In the last few months, I have been trying to find the perfect recipe that would give me a whole wheat bread that isn’t only moist but also not so dense.  Well I think I found it, and no surprise, it was a recent post on one of my favorite websites, theKitchn.

This whole wheat bread is made with canola oil instead of butter. Also, the recipe calls for milk, which I substituted with almond milk, since I don’t do animal milk.  The instructions for forming your dough into a loaf are perfect and make for a lovely finished product.

Basic Whole Wheat Bread (recipe from theKitchn)

1 cup (8 oz) warm (not hot) water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup (8 oz) milk – whole, 2%, or skim
1/4 cup (3 oz) honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 3/4 cups (13 3/4 oz) all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 3/4 cups (13 3/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt

Pour the water into the bowl of a standing mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let this stand for a few minutes until the yeast has dissolved. Stir in the milk, honey, and oil.

Add two cups of all-purpose flour and stir to combine the ingredients. Add the rest of the all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Stir to form a shaggy dough. Let this stand for 20 minutes to give the flour time to absorb the liquid.

Using the dough hook attachment on a standing mixer, knead the dough for 8-9 minutes. Alternatively, knead the dough by hand against the counter. If the dough is bubble-gum sticky against the sides of the bowl or the counter, add extra flour a tablespoon at a time until it is no longer sticky. The dough is kneaded when it is smooth, feels slightly tacky, forms a ball without sagging, and springs back when poked.

Clean out the mixing bowl and film it with a little oil. Form the dough into a ball and turn it in the bowl to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm spot until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours. This dough won’t double quite as dramatically as other recipes, but the dough should look visibly puffed.

Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and turn the dough out on top. Divide the dough in two and shape each half into a loose ball. Let the balls rest for 10 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans or film them with non-stick cooking spray. Shape each ball of dough into a loaf (see this tutorial for step-by-step instructions) and transfer to the loaf pans. It’s important that the surface of the loaves be stretched taut; this helps them rise and prevents an overly-dense interior. Let the loaves rise a second time until they start to dome over the edge of the pan, 30-40 minutes.

Heat the oven to 425°F about halfway through the second rise.

Slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife and put them in the oven. Immediately turn down the heat to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes. Finished loaves will be dark golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the loaves from the pans and let them cool completely before slicing.

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