Susan's Soaked Whole Wheat Bread - from our Feb. Pot Luck Dinner and Workshop

Susan’s Soaked Bread
Makes 4 (4 x 8 inch) or 3 (4 x 12 inch) loaves

Note: Soaking whole grains in an acidic medium makes whole grains easier to digest and neutralizes phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that binds minerals and takes them out of your body as you digest the whole grains. It also makes whole-grain baked goods softer and lighter. It takes a little planning ahead, but the end result is so worth it.

Mix in mixer bowl until blended:
5 cups warm water
1/3 cup lemon juice or white vinegar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (you can use veg. oil instead of butter and coconut oil if you prefer)
½ cup honey
14 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
½ cup ground flax seed (if you don’t have this, just add another ½ cup of flour)

Let sit in bowl, covered, for 18-24 hours. After soaking period, sprinkle on dough:
2 tablespoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons salt

Mix in; let dough sit for 10 minutes to soften yeast.

Start kneading dough on high speed. After 4-5 minutes of kneading, stop the machine and check the dough. If it is a bit too wet and runny, add another ½ cup of flour (I usually don’t need this.). Dough should be about the consistency of cookie dough. Continue kneading until the total kneading time is 7-8 minutes, until gluten is fully developed, but not over-developed.

Gluten test: A golf-ball size piece of dough should stretch 4-5 inches without tearing when you pull it between your two hands.

Let rise in bowl until doubled in bulk, about 45-60 minutes. Punch down, then let rise again until doubled.

Shape dough into loaves, place in greased bread pans. Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Finger test: Gently poke your finger into the corner of the loaf. If it springs back immediately without leaving a slight indentation your bread needs more rising time. If it leaves just a slight indentation, it's ready to go into the oven.

Bake at 350 for 32-35 minutes.