I admit that I use to have a phobia about making yeast bread.  That’s right, I had an extreme, irrational fear of making yeast bread! Making a cake is easy; measure the ingredients properly, follow the directions carefully, when a toothpick comes out crumb free, voilà, cake!  Same with quick breads.  Yeast breads though are something of an ART form, and I am no artist.  How was I supposed to know if there was too much/ too little flour or water?!  Was my yeast alive or did I somehow kill it?!  The qualifying terms used in yeast breads are so subjective; puffy, very puffy, tacky, moist, sticky, cohesive, elastic, very soft, smooth, taut, etc.  To quote Cook’s Illustrated “Bread making is shrouded in mystery and plagued by misinformation and myths.”

My adventure into yeast bread came in the form of pizza.  This pizza dough changed everything for me!  After several successful pies I was ready to try other forms of yeast bread.  I still wasn’t “loaf confident” but thought I could tackle rolls.  Enter King Arthur Flour’s (KAF) blog FLOURISH!  I started with Parker House Rolls.  I poured over the directions and pictures on the blog until I was sure I could do it.  I took notes on my printed recipe and had the blog open on the computer and phone (in case one stopped working) and nervously set out to make rolls to serve with dinner.  I then asked my husband to go to the store to buy a back-up loaf of Italian bread!  Well, the rolls were awesome (thanks to KAF and PJ Hamel).

I was slowly gaining the confidence needed to bring me to the level where I could bake my own 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread!  Requirements: my family would enjoy, would freeze well, no special ingredients or equipment, not tie me to the kitchen all day.  On January 2nd, I got the confidence booster to go for it (but honestly still waited until like March)!

This is the ingredient list in my store bought 100% Whole Wheat Bread:

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Sugar, Wheat Gluten, Yeast, Raisin Juice Concentrate, Wheat Bran, Molasses, Soybean Oil, Salt, Monoglycerides, Calcium Propionate (preservative), Calcium Sulfate, DATEM, Grain Vinegar, Citric Acid, Soy Lecithin, Whey, Soy Flour, Nonfat Milk.

This is the ingredient list in my homemade 100% Whole Wheat Bread:

Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Vegetable Oil*, Maple Syrup (or Honey, or Molasses), Yeast, Nonfat Dried Milk, Salt.        *I use GrapeOla 100% Grape seed oil.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to bake your own bread, uvegottatrythis 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, KAF’s most popular recipe.

NOTES: Combine all ingredients and let sit 20 – 30 minutes (fancy bread term: autolyse).  This gives the flour time to absorb the liquid and it has made a big impact on rise time for me.  Also, if you want to make two loaves, double all ingredients but leave the yeast at 2-1/2 tsp.  Since this bread is preservative free, I slice it, bag it, and store it in the freezer.  I bag it in halve loafs and pull one out before bed (if I remember) or at breakfast or, like I did today, 5 minutes before lunch and served very cold bread to my kids : )