Baking a Whole Wheat Bread Loaf

I fulfilled a dream last week, with much determination — that of baking my very own loaf of whole wheat bread. I’d been hesitant and procrastinating over the years, then just too busy with young kids to make the time. But lately, there’s been a whole slew of videos on homebaking, and I just needed to get in and knead. I pulled out the bread tin and the bread knife I’d been holding onto. I bought a fresh box of active dried yeast (having found that the one in my freezer were a couple of years old and a bit slow in rising from the dead).

I did it. The success of it has made me more sure of myself with an oven and I’ve relegated one day of the week for dedicated baking. The smell of a homemade bread loaf is intoxicating as opposed to its commercial counterpart.

For this, I’ve used —

  • Whole wheat flour (I used Aashirvad brand of atta), 2 cups
  • Lukewarm water, 1 cup
  • Dry active yeast, 2 tsp
  • Honey, 2 tsp
  • Salt, 2 tsp
  • Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Plain curd/yoghurt, 1 tbsp
  • 1 bread tin, greased

Here’s how I made it —

  • Placing the lukewarm water in a large glass bowl, stir in the yeast and honey and allow it to rest for 10 minutes to froth.
  • To this add half the quantity of flour (1 cup) and stir it in till completely wet. Cover this with a damp towel and allow it to proof for 90 minutes.
  • Then, add the oil, yoghurt and salt, stirring gently. The yoghurt keeps the bread soft.
  • To this add the rest of the flour and start to combine the flour into the mixture. If needed, some more water or oil can be added to felicitate the process. Continue kneading for 10 minutes till a soft pliable dough is formed.
  • Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place it back into the bowl. If needed, some oil may be brushed on the surface. Cover with the damp cloth once more and allow it to rise for another 90 minutes in a dark place.
  • Then, knead the dough some more and place it into the bread tin, shaping it carefully. Brush the surface with some oil to keep the top from drying out. Cover with the damp cloth and allow the dough to rise for 45 minutes.
  • In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200 degree Celcius for about 15 minutes.
  • Place the bread tin into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  • The bread loaf must sound hollow when knocked on with your knuckles. A heavy dull sound would mean it is not yet done.

The crust turned out to be a bit harder than I expected, but otherwise I was rather pleased with it. I didn’t weigh it, but it might’ve been somewhere between 300 and 400 gms.

The smells in the kitchen remained heavenly for hours afterwards.

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