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Whole wheat bread is one of the recipes for which we receive the most customer requests, and we're happy to oblige with yet another one here. Have you ever noticed whole wheat bread's magical transformation in the toaster? Now, you may be a fan of whole wheat bread au naturel, sliced from the loaf and made into a sandwich, or eaten plain. But if you're lukewarm about plain whole wheat bread, try it toasted -- what a difference! The naturally sweet, nutty flavor of the wheat is brought out by the toaster's heat, and the aroma as well as the taste of whole wheat toast brings home once again why wheat is the world's second most popular grain (rice earning top honors). A brunch array of toasts -- whole wheat, oatmeal and cinnamon -- will bring out the appetite in even the pickiest breakfast eater.
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup + 6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Special Bread Flour
1 cup King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped, OR 1 cup pecan meal
Manual/Mixer Method: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, or the bowl of your electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients. Stir the mixture together, using your hands, a spoon, or your mixer, till the dough forms a shaggy mass that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead the dough, by hand or mixer, for about 10 minutes, till it's become smooth. Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk, at least 1 hour.
Bread Machine Method (2-pound loaf): Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine. Program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. Examine the dough about midway through the kneading cycle; it should be stiff but smooth, not gnarly. Adjust the consistency with additional water or bread flour, as needed. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, shape it into a log, and place it in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch or 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. If you use the smaller pan, the bread will rise very high and a bit outwards, forming a slight "mushroom" shape. Using the larger pan will yield a loaf that's shorter and wider. Tent the dough with lightly greased plastic wrap, or with a dough rising cover, and allow it to rise till it's crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the smaller pan, or has just cleared the rim of the larger pan, about 45 minutes.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes. The interior temperature of the finished loaf should register 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pan, and place it on a wire rack to cool. While the bread is hot, lightly brush it with butter or margarine, or spray it with butter-flavored pan spray; this will keep the crust soft and give it a nice satiny shine. Yield: One 2-pound loaf.