Bread . . . I think it can be magical.
I remember many times in my youth, walking home from school and feeling a bit blue. Could it be because I had to walk? I don’t think so. We simply didn’t know any different at that time. Looking back, I do believe it had something to do with friends . . . or maybe so-called friends. As I entered the door of our home and the smell of freshly baked bread filled the halls . . . suddenly, all was well again.
The point of this story today, isn’t about mean girls . . . it’s about Crazy Good Bread!
I do believe that the wonderful Julia Childs knew best.
“How can a nation be great if their bread tastes like kleenex?” - Julia Childs
This bread certainly doesn’t taste like Kleenex!
Don’t get me wrong Kleenex – I love you . . . I have one of you in my hand at all times, but bread shouldn’t taste like you.
My husband even loves this bread, and he’s a picky bread connoisseur. After spending time in Germany, It’s pretty darn hard to compete! The key to good bread is: The next days bread! Is it still moist and yummy? Check yes X. Next time . . .Yes, next time I’m putting raw sunflower seeds and flax seed in the dough. We’ve become addicted to Dave’s Killer Bread, and I’m making this again and filling it with seeds.
This Crazy Good Cracked Wheat Bread makes excellent sandwiches, because the bread is moist and soft. My favorite is toasted, with just a bit of butter or jam.
Try this recipe . . . it really is Crazy Good!
- 1¼ cups warm water
- 1 cup cracked wheat
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C) + 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup whole or 2% milk
- 2 cups all purpose or bread flour
- 3 cups + whole wheat flour (may require additional)
- 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (opt)
- In a small saucepan, bring 1¼ cups of water to a boil. Stir in 1 cup of the cracked wheat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; let cool to lukewarm.
- Note: A short simmer will give you a bit crunchier texture of cracked wheat in your bread - we like that!
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of warm water + 1 teaspoon sugar.
- Let stand until the yeast rises up, gets foamy and creamy looking. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Pour the cracked wheat mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the butter, oil, salt, molasses, honey, milk and the yeast mixture.
- Add the whole wheat flour and 2 cups of the bread flour 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Note: You can do this in a mixer, or by hand. I used a KitchenAid and added 1½ cups extra wheat flour. Add additional whole wheat flour ¼ to ½ cup at a time, just until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing until the dough is smooth and elastic but not stiff! My grandmother used to say: The dough should feel a bit like a soft earlobe when you pinch it!
- Lightly butter or oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
- Cover with a lid or warm damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
- Punch down (deflate) the dough and divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves.
- Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9x5 inch loaf pans.
- Cover the loaves with a warm damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size. This will take about 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F ( 190 degrees C).
- Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on top and bottom.
- Cool on racks.
I added 1½ cups extra flour to this recipe when using my KitchenAid Mixer.