As someone who doesn't eat bread, I sure have a love for making it. There's something about it's versatility, it's living (and essentially) breathing nature, and of course it's sheer aroma as its made and bakes to crusty perfection. However, I'll admit that I don't make it as traditionally as my mom and grandfather do and did - I've yet to develop satisfactorily Olympian-swimmer arm and shoulder muscles to adequately knead the denser whole grain loaves my mom loves to eat, so my stand mixer is my best friend in that respect.
Now, my stand mixer is a beast - it's a professional-grade 7 qt KitchenAid that weighs a ton (officially 25 lbs) and never moves from it's spot on my counter. Because of it's size, though, it rarely gets to show its true prowess, as while it's great for the preliminary kneading of single-loaf dough, I still wind up doing a lot of the final kneading. Obviously, bigger batches of dough were the way to go - and a quadruple batch of hearty, 100% whole grain bread fit the bill perfectly! What I love about making such huge batches at a time is that I can freeze "portion pack" balls of dough for months and pull them out when we need fresh bread but I don't feel like fussing with the ingredients and kneading.
We never get tired of it, since as I mentioned before bread is almost infinitely versatile - the first loaf I made with this batch was studded with rock sugar and shaped into a boule, which came out perfectly sweet and just crusty enough for a great PB & J, while being absorbent enough for a killer French toast. Other loaves were filled with cheese, trail mix, or swirls of spice. I even took my last two balls of dough and added cocoa and chocolate chips to one half, orange zest and extract to the other and twisted them together into a decadent and dessert-worthy loaf.
My favourite part of making this bread these days is using my own home-ground, sprouted wheat flour (which I now store in one of my Infinity Jars). It's infinitely worth either buying or grinding sprouted wheat flour to use as part of any loaf - it lends a delicate sweetness that overrides any possible bitterness the whole wheat might impart (I've never found any regardless, but the earthy sweetness is nice). In my experience, sprouted flour also feeds sourdough starter better than plain ol' flour does. I guess I'm spoiled now!
A final note - measuring by weight is 100% your friend here... unless you want to scoop out 15 cups of flour by hand!
Big Batch Honey-Wheat Bread
Makes 4 loaves of 16 slices each
¼ cup honey
⅓ cup canola oil
3 cups warm whole milk
3 ½ cups warm water
1 ½ tbsp salt
3 ¾ lbs whole wheat bread flour (about 13 cups)
9 oz sprouted wheat flour (about 2 cups)
2 tbsp soy lecithin granules (optional - highly recommended if freezing longer than 1 month)
1 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp instant yeast
- Combine honey, oil, milk, water and salt in a jug. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine remaining ingredients.
- Add wet mixture and knead on medium-low speed for 10 minutes.
- Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch down and portion dough into balls between 1 ½ - 2 lbs. Wrap each piece not being baked immediately in 2 layers of foil and freeze up to 3 months.
- Let dough thaw completely in the fridge before use.
- Knead in any additions (i.e. dried fruit, nuts, seeds) and shape into either a “pan loaf” or a boule.
- If using a pan, place dough into a greased 9x5” bread pan, cover and let rise for 30 - 60 minutes, until almost doubled.
- If making a boule, shape into a tight ball and place on a lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise 30-60 minutes, until almost doubled.
- Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 1 hour (1 ½ lbs dough bread pans) or 375F for 50 minutes (2-lb boule). Bread will test at least 200F when done
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 2.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.1 mg
Sodium: 169.5 mg
Total Carbs: 23.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g
Protein: 4.5 g