Martha S.'s Whole Wheat Bread
3 cups warm water
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbls. honey
1 packet of dry yeast
4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup applesauce
Approximately 10 cups whole wheat flour
(I think it's best when it's freshly ground.)
4 - 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pans (The smaller pan size is good because
it allows the bread to rise in the pan a little higher.)
Butter - to grease the pans.
Dissolve yeast in the warm water mixed w/1 Tbls. honey in a large pottery bowl.
Let sit 5 minutes, yeast should foam up. (Original recipe says to spend the 5 minutes
praying for your family.)
Stir in 3 Cups of whole wheat flour, beat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes to develop gluten.
Add rest of honey, salt, and applesauce. Stir for another 5 minutes.
Stir in another 3 Cups of flour.
Add another 3 Cups flour. Dump out onto floured board and knead until smooth and
elastic. You may need to add as much as one more cup of flour. To know if the dough
has been kneaded enough, it should not stick to your hand.
Form dough into tight ball and place into a greased pottery bowl. Let rise in a warm,
moist place for 40 minutes. (Hint: I place a 9"x 13" cake pan in the bottom of my oven
and put boiling water in it. Then place the bowl of dough on the rack above.)
Punch dough down and divide into 4 loaves. Grease loaf pans. To get maximum rise from
your dough, flatten each loaf section and roll it up, tucking the ends underneath the loaf.
This gives the yeast something to rise against. Set loaf pans in warm, moist place to rise
again for 40 minutes.
If you've let the loaves rise in the oven, remove them (and your pan of water)
and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake loaves for 30 - 40 minutes. Should be lightly browned
(you'll "smell" that it's done) and the loaves will sound hollow when you thump them.
I've been making this recipe for over 30 years and it's still the best and simplest one I know of.
If you will not eat the bread up in 2 or 3 days, freeze it.
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