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Whole Wheat Bread

Recipe by Suette Bechtel of the Oil Lamp Restaurant near Goshen, Indiana. From the cookbook Cooking From Quilt Country by Marcia Adams (Clarkson Potter Publishers).

A very easy recipe and a great dough to work with.
Makes two small loaves.

2 packages active dry yeast
3 T. sugar
3 T. honey
1 T. salt
1-1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. mashed potato (plain - without milk or seasonings)
2-1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2-1/2 c bread flour
melted butter for brushing tops of loaves

[Steve notes: I start first by peeling, cubing and boiling a potato in water for 10 minutes, so I have the mashed potato ready in time.]

In a large mixer bowl, combine all the ingredients in the order given, but reserve 1-1/4 cups of the bread flour. Mix well for 5 minutes. Gradually blend in the rest of the bread flour, using as much as needed to make a workable dough. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise in a warm place until dough doubles in side, approximately 2 hours. [note: rising time is generally longer with whole wheat.]

Punch dough down very thoroughly to break up any large air holes that might have developed. Form into a smooth ball and place in the regreased bowl. Allow dough to rise until it doubles again in size, approximately 1-1/2 hours.

Punch dough down again, cut in half and form into 2 loaves. Place loaves in greased loaf pans [8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 in.]. With a dinner fork, prick each loaf 8 times, plunging the fork all the way down to the bottom of the pan; this keeps those nasty air bubbles from forming. Cover the loaves with a tea towel and let rise until they are double in size, approximately 1-1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325. Bake the loaves for 15 minutes, then raise the temperature to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes longer.

Remove pans from oven, brush tops of loaves liberally with melted butter, and tip the loaves out of their pans onto a wire rack to cool. This keeps the loaves from getting soggy from their own steam.

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