It also is full of fibre, unlike most shop bought "Brown" sliced pans that deceive us into thinking that we are buying healthy bread, when I suspect that some only contain about 5-10% wholemeal, whereas this is 50% wholemeal and if you want you can omit the white flour and go for a full 100% wholemeal loaf or to reduce the fat content substitute the milk for water. I'm sure that not many are going to stop buying bread with the weekly shop in favour of this, but it is worth making at least once if you are feeling jaded by mass produced bread.
I have tried to write this post as clear as possible with TIPS throughout which applies to all yeast baking, this is not a foolproof endeavour but it is worth making the effort, however, if you are totally new to yeast baking then I suggest that you try Sarah's Tomato and Basil Bread, which is a really easy (although you don't need to tell anyone it was easy!!) an Italian inspired bread made from a packet of Tesco Bread Mix.
350g Strong wholemeal flour
350g Strong white flour
7g Fast action bread yeast (I use McDougalls)
1tsp Caster sugar
1 egg, medium
300 -450ml Milk or water, warmed
TIP: When heating any liquid for yeast baking, it should be 37C (body temperature), personally I use my microwave for 30 second intervals on FULL in a 800w until it reaches the correct temperature. Too hot and it will kill the yeast and too cold and the yeast will take much longer to rise.
Lightly grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and set aside. Place the flours, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl, add the egg and pour in the milk/water.
Mix together to form a soft dough, adding a little extra milk/water if necessary.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If using a stand mixer mix on MIN for 6-8 minutes, remove the dough if it becomes wrapped around the dough hook.
TIP: To test if the dough is fully kneaded, gently press a floured finger into the dough, if it springs back quickly it is ready for shaping.
Shape the dough into a oblong shape. Using a sharp knife, cut one long slash lengthways along the centre of the loaf.
Place the dough in the prepared loaf tin and cover with a clean tea towel or greased cling film, leave to rise in a warm place (hot press) for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
TIP: If don't have a loaf tin then simply shape the dough into a round, oval or rectangle, slash with a knife and place onto a lightly greased baking sheet, rise and bake as directed below.
TIP: The most reliable way to tell if your yeast bread is fully risen is, with a floured finger press the dough gently and if it springs back half way then it is ready for baking. The picture below shows a dent in the risen loaf that is still visible just above the edge of the tin.
Preheat oven to 230ºC/450ºF/Gas Mark 8. Lightly sprinkle the top of the loaf with a little wholemeal flour.
TIP: Throw a few ice cubes or pour a cup of water into a roasting tray into the oven as you put the bread into the oven, this creates steam which allows the bread to continue to rise in the before the crust is fully formed so you get a lighter textured loaf.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the bread is risen and lightly browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.