I just used the basic proportions I have learned from various recipes, the 'lots of milk and butter' from my grandmother's white bread, and the kneading style from baps and baguettes... it was really a good bread. slightly sweet, and just the right consistency.
***See Baking Tips!
1/2 c whole wheat flour
(King Arthur's 100% whole wheat is great!)
3 1/4 tsp yeast
(about one and a half packets)
1/2 c warm water
2 c milk
3 T butter
1/4 c honey
1 1/2 c whole wheat
4 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 c bread flour
yeah, this is a huge recipe - three loaves - but i just kept needing to add things...
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp salt
some olive oil for kneading
The ingredients are arranged in order of use. Combine the first three ingredients, first dissolving the yeast in the water, and let this sit for 30 minutes, covered.
Scald the milk (heat it on the stove, but more of a flash warming. Don't let it boil or get too hot). Melt the butter in the milk and stir in the honey. Make sure to let this cool to a warm or room temperature before adding it to the recipe!!!! otherwise it'll kill the yeast (which, remember, is alive) and you'll get a chunk of nothin. done it... I suggest doing this first and letting it sit along with the yeast mixture above for 30 minutes.
Sift and stir together the third set of ingredients (whole wheat, all purpose and bread flour, sugar and salt)
- this dry ingredient and wet ingredient mixture is very common in baking... it makes for a smooth blending
When the milk has cooled, and the yeast risen (it looks funny, you'll know) form a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour the two liquid ingredients in. Use a fork to start stirring the liquid mixture, slowly adding the flour from the sides as the amount you had gets mixed well.
Once it is all mixed (it should be fairly sticky) sprinkle a little flour over top and turn it out (this the the word they use for 'pour' for batter since its not really liquid, so you cant really pour, but its the same concept) onto a clean countertop that has been rubbed with generous oil.
Knead the dough about 100 times, or until it feels like one consistent chunk. You'll know it.
Let it rest for ten minutes, and then knead for 10 seconds. Repeat this thrice... or whatever the proper grammar is.
After the third kneading, let it double (sit for about 45 minutes) and divide it into three equal loaves. Older recipes say to punch it down, getting a lot of the air out, but I usually find in dividing and shaping the loaves it gets punched down enough.
I use a large bread knife for this, not pushing down but letting the teeth of the knife do the work as it slides across the dough. It works well; you don't lose all the work it has done rising, and you can really see the consistency of the risen dough on the inside.
Shape the loaves and place them in three greased loaf pans (this is the time to cut the tops if you want patterns on them). Let them double, covered, again. Yeah, i know it kind of takes a while.
Now, finally you can bake them! 375 degrees at 30 minutes.
If you want them soft, cover them with a cloth as they cool. Here's a conundrum, though: if you want the bottom crust to not get gooey you've got to turn them upside down for a while. but this looses that pretty top of the loaf. Maybe I need a drying rack?