Rustic Whole Wheat Loaf

This is such a quick and easy bread to make. No yeast. Just 7 simple ingredients. 30-40 minutes resting time to rise. 35-40 minutes in the oven and you have a beautiful, artisan loaf that’s ready to eat. Makes great toast and sandwiches – or serve it with a bit of butter and your favorite soup. It took a bit of trial and error for me to reach a consistent result with this one. I love the fact that the ingredient amounts ended up being so consistent – super easy to remember! I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.

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Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 t. Baking Powder
1 1/2 t. Baking Soda
1 1/2 t. Granulated Sugar
1 1/2 t. Salt
1 1/2 c. Milk (room temperature or slightly warmer)

Directions:
Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to mix thoroughly and to break up any lumps.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the milk all at once. Mix well, using a firm spatula and scraping the sides often, until the dough comes together. Knead the dough a few times, right in the bowl, until it develops a smooth consistency, then shape it into a ball.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush (or spray) it lightly with olive (or vegetable) oil. Turn the dough ball out onto the parchment paper, then, using a very sharp knife, cut a cross (about half an inch deep) into the top of the dough.

Invert the bowl and use it to cover the dough. Place it a warm place and allow the dough to rise for 30-40 minutes.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 385 degrees F.

Place the risen loaf in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes – until the crust is brown and has begun to split in places. It should sound somewhat hollow when thumped. (You’ll want to make sure it’s completely done, otherwise this fairly dense bread will be doughy in the center.)

Remove the bread from the baking sheet and place it on a wire rack to cool. You’ll need a sturdy, serrated knife for slicing, as this loaf has a crunchy crust.

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What I learned from my experiments:
If you don’t have whole wheat flour, you can make it a white bread loaf by omitting the whole wheat flour and using 3 cups of all-purpose flour. If you do this, you can also omit the sugar if you like. I found that without the addition of the sugar, the whole wheat loaf had a sharp taste that we didn’t like. Using all whole wheat flour made such a sharp-tasting, coarse loaf that all we could stand to do with it was toast, and even that was difficult to choke down without a fair amount of butter. Lower temperatures made the bread dry out too much before the inside cooked completely and without the addition of both baking powder and baking soda it was really too dense and heavy and tended to seem rather doughy, even if it was completely cooked.

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