This afternoon I completed my trial recipe following the Mother Earth News version of whole-grain bread. This second time I bit the bullet and went for 100% whole-wheat bread, to see if I could overcome the lack of gluten this time--I have never done that before. I wrote the other day that my whole-wheat bread always seemed to resemble coffee cake rather than a yeast bread.
But this time I made it. I did mix two types of flour, though, and this is how: I made the sponge, which "works" overnight in the refrigerator, with white whole-wheat flour. Then I made the soaker, which works overnight on the kitchen counter in a covered bowl, with typical organic whole-wheat flour.
When I put them together I followed Mother Earth News' instructions, placing the third batch of ingredients at the bottom of my stand mixer. Then I broke up the sponge and the soaker over the bottom of the bowl and turned the bread hook on Speed 1. Eventually I went to Speed 2 for perfect mixing.
I also followed the instructions for keeping the rising time shorter than usual, so that the bread would "bloom" into its final height in the oven. And it worked! The bread came out nutritious and mildly-flavored, without the bitter undertaste that you can get with whole-wheat bread. This is due to the addition of 2 Tablespoons of orange juice, which counteracts that flavor tendency.
So I can honestly say that I have cracked the code on whole-wheat bread after all these years of wanting to make it and failing. My husband also prefers whole-wheat bread and he has wondered why I don't make it, although I finally explained it all as I went through this trial loaf. Now I can keep it sliced in the freezer for him all the time.
My first recipe, combining white whole-wheat flour and unbleached organic all-purpose flour, worked fine and I can do that forever, as I wrote the other day. But now I can most sincerely encourage you to download the bread recipe from Mother Earth News, or simply pick up their latest issue at any Tucson supermarket or magazine outlet. I got mine at the Sprouts market at Speedway and Swan, although as I mention, it is available online.
Those who don't want to eat bread unless the nutrition is kicked up at least a notch have found their bread, if the instructions are followed. Just anticipate your needs and make your sponge and soaker the day before, and your whole-wheat bread will rock!