Monday, April 28, 2008

This is a project - Triple Threat Whole Wheat Bread

As a kid of a working mom (which I love by the way, both that she's my mom and that she showed me that working moms can rock) I spent a lot of time with my grandmothers, who were for the most part stay-at-home moms (equally fantastic and awesome). My one Gram can't cook - Gram, if you're reading this, I love you very much and you give the best hugs but you can not cook...I think we all know this. My other Grandma (who won't be reading this because she doesn't understand what going online means) was an amazing baker and a pretty darn good all around cook. My Grandma Teresa made bread ALL the time and we loved it because nothing beats the smell of fresh bread. On Friday's she would make her Triple Threat Bread - she made hers with White Flour - and I've made mine so it's Whole Wheat.

I will say upfront that this is a project - you will not whip this up one night after work (well I guess you technically could if you stayed up late, which I am not capable of doing). Having said that, I have to say it's worth it if you have a 2.5 hour window where you want to be in the kitchen getting your hands good and dirty and you want the most amazing Triple Threat Bread EVER. Why is it called Triple Threat Bread? Because it makes 1 loaf of Whole Wheat Bread, 1 pan of Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls and one pan of Pecan Sweet Whole Wheat Rolls. I've made the White version a bunch of times when I take Friday off because nothing beats a sandwich on fresh bread and then Pecan Sweet Rolls for breakfast and fresh rolls for Saturday night dinner. The whole wheat twist was new to me this time but I have to say it rocks and adds a whole load of healthful reasons to make it. So lets get started:

Triple Threat Whole Wheat Bread

What you need:
Stuff you Need
Group ONE:
4 cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (this is VERY important that it's Pastry Flour because regular whole wheat bread would be to mealy)
2 cups Regular Old White Flour
4 Tablespoons Sugar
3 Packets of Active Dry Yeast
3 and a half Teaspoons Salt

Group TWO:
3 Cups Hot Water (up to 130 degrees but not boiling)
4 Tablespoons Butter Melted

Group Three: For the Sweet Roll part you need:
4 Tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup of chopped Pecans (I like a lot so I use the whole cup, if you're not that into it, use less)
1/3 cup White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon (more if you like it a lot like I do)

What you do:

  1. Put all the stuff from Group One in a big bowl and mix it up so you can't see what's what. Make a little well in the middle of your bowl so you'll have a place to pour all the stuff from Group Two
    Stuff Mixed Step 1
  2. Pour Group Two into Group One and stir (or use your hand mixer or use your stand mixer) until it forms a ball - this will take about 5 or so minutes
  3. Use White Flour to dust off a clean workspace - have an extra cup of white flour at the ready - your hands will be messy and you won't want to dig for another measuring cup of flour.
  4. Dump the bread onto your clean flour surface and knead for about 4-5 mintues - you'll need to sprinkle the dough with flour frequently because you don't want it to be sticky. Don't know how to do that? See here.
  5. Oil a bowl (I always use a coffee filter for this job because that's how my Grandma did it but I'm sure paper towel would work too) be a little generous because you're going to put your kneaded dough in this bowl and spin it around so it's got oil on all sides. Put Saran Wrap over the bowl.
    Dough Step 5
  6. Put the bowl in a warm place (about 80 degrees) for 30-40 minutes or until it doubles in size. Now I don't have a place that warm in my house but I do have one of those warming spots on my stove so I turn that to low and it works PERFECTLY. I also cover with a warm damp dish cloth because that's how my Grandma did it.
  7. While this is doing its job I do NOT clean up because it's only going to get messy again, I oil the bread loaf pan, the dinner roll pan (I use a cake pan) and I get my Pecan sweet roll stuff together. I also chop vegetables for dinners, read People magazine and read blogs.
  8. Put the Brown Sugar and the butter in a pan over medium heat and stir like crazy until you can no longer hear the granules of brown sugar (it will be bubbly hot). Pour that into the bottom of your Sweet Roll pan and then sprinkle your pecans. I stir together my white sugar and my cinnamon mixture now too.
    Sugar Butter Mixture Step 8
  9. Cut your bread into thirds with a sharp knife. Put 1/3 into your loaf pan and shape it like a loaf of bread, cover it with saran wrap and put it in the warm place again.
    Bread Step 9
  10. The next 1/3 will need some more flour to work into your rolls. I do the dinner rolls next and I use an extra large cookie scoop so that they all work out to be about the same size. Scoop, roll around in your floured hands and then put into your pan. Cover it with saran wrap and put it in the warm place again.
  11. Now you've got 1/3 left. Dump this on to your floured surface again and roll it out into a rectangle. Sprinkle your cinnamon sugar mixture over the entire thing and roll it up. Now I am really bad about making them the same size so first I cut it in half and then in quarters and then so on. Be careful and put them roll side up into your pan (the pecan stuff will be on the bottom). Cover it with saran wrap and put it in the warm place again.
  12. While you're waiting this second thirty minutes, first turn your stove on to preheat at 450 degrees. Then you can do the big clean up because you won't be getting anything messy again. Times up - put all your stuff in the oven
    Getting Ready to bake Step 12
  13. Bake at 450 for just 10 minutes. Then turn your oven down to 375 and back the rolls and the sweet rolls for another 10 minutes or until they are golden looking. Take them out and leave your bread in for another 5-8 minutes (tap the bottom, if it sounds like it's hollow it's done.).
  14. Now my Grandma would flip the sweet rolls over onto a platter because she liked all the good stuff to drip all over the inverted sweet rolls- and I recommend this - I just don't happen to be coordinated enough to do this little move without landing them on the floor...and they taste so good you'll be seeing me eat them off the floor which, if we're being honest, isn't something anyone needs to see.
    Finished Step 14
    Tasty Sweet Rolls
    Finished Step 14

Now, don't you feel accomplished? You made Triple Threat Whole Wheat Bread.

Sweet Roll finished yumm


AndreAnna said...

This sounds like the perfect rainy day project. I am so on it!

(in two weeks once I get my house back)

Being on cooking hiatus sucks.

caley said...

I'm on cooking hiatus, too... well, standing hiatus, actually, as I've hurt my back. But once I'm feeling well enough to stand in the kitchen I am soooo making this. Yum!