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Whole Wheat Olive Oil Bread

Ingredients

  • 7 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tbsp granulated yeast (or two packets)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup honey

Instructions

  • In a 5-quart lidded, but not airtight food container, whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten.
  • Add the liquid ingredients and mix without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup food processor (with dough attachment) or a heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle. You might need to use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you are not using a machine.
  • Cover, and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses (or flattens on top), ~ 2 hours
  • The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate and use it over the next 7 days.
  • On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 lb (grapefruit size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball ¼ turn as you go
  • Elongate the ball into a narrow oval. Allow the loaf to rest, loosely covered with plastic wrap on a pizza peel prepared with cornmeal or lined with parchment paper for 90 minutes. (40 minutes if you are using fresh, unrefrigerated dough. Alternatively, you can rest the loaf on a silicone mat or greased cookie sheet without using a pizza peel.
  • Thirty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450° F, with a baking stone placed in the middle oven rack. Place an empty metal broiler tray on any other rack that won’t interfere with the rising of the bread.
  • just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top with water. Slash the loaf 1/4” deep parallel cuts – using a serrated bread knife.
  • Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 30 minutes until richly browned and firm. If you used parchment paper or a cookie sheet, carefully remove it and bake the loaf directly on the stone or an oven rack ⅔ of the way through the baking time. Smaller or larger loaves will require adjustments in resting and baking time.
  • Allow the bread to cool on a rack before slicing and eating.**Makes enough dough for at least four 1-lb loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved. I also use this dough to make focaccia and pizza crusts.