For my entire life, this recipe has been the standard of excellence in bread making. This is a bread dough recipe that my mother, Geneve, developed for her college Food Science final. I grew up with this bread and the smell of wheat grinding fresh in our family home.
Now as a pastry chef and mother myself, her recipe for this remarkable bread remains a classic. It is called 5-day bread, but the dough can be made up to seven days ahead of time.
2 T active-dry yeast OR 1 T SAF Instant premium yeast
4 c milk, scalded and cooled OR water (no hotter than 115 degrees)
3/4 c honey
1 T salt
4 large eggs
3/4 c oil (olive or melted coconut oil)
1 1/2 c mashed potatoes, cooled to body temperature
1T baking powder
14-15 cups fresh milled whole wheat bread flour
Dissolve yeast in milk (or water) in a Bosch Universal Mixer.
Stir in honey. Allow yeast to get foamy. Add egg, oil, mashed potato, baking powder, salt and 14 cups of fresh milled flour. Turn to speed 1 and combine about 30 seconds.
Increase speed to 3 and mix 4 ½ minutes until dough is soft and well developed but not dry. It will look almost like spun golden yarn. That's what good protein development should look like in your bowl.
Allow dough to rest 10 minutes in the bowl (this gives the wheat time to absorb moisture). Don't skip this 10 minute resting step. You'll end up using way more flour than you need to in your bread and your bread will be dry. After 10 minutes, you should be able to pull a piece out and have it string 6-7 inches above the bowl without the dough breaking.
Add enough of the flour remaining to make soft dough that is easy to handle but not dry. Turn dough onto a very lightly floured surface. Form into a ball. It should hold it's shape without melting into a blob on your counter-top.
Place dough in an ungreased 2-gallon bowl or food-grade bucket, covered tightly.
Put in the fridge, tightly covered.
Punch down after 2 hours (this may be faster if you use warm ingredients or flour). If the dough is over 85 degrees when you put it in the fridge, be sure to punch down sooner.
Be sure to punch down daily if keeping it more than a day or two (this not only expels gas, but also ensures even temperature in the dough). This will yield 4 standard sized loaves of bread.
To bake a standard sized loaf: Divide dough in 4 equal portions, about 2 lbs of dough for standard loaves. Form each loaf using the loaf molding technique. Lightly coat the top of the loaf with melted butter and then lightly tent the loaves with plastic or plastic bags OR place in a moist place to rise. Allow to rise (1 -1 ½ hrs) until dough is about 1-2 inches above the edge of the pan. Lightly slit the top with a very sharp knife.
Bake in preheated 425° oven for 20 minutes then drop the temperature to 350 for the final 15-20 minutes of cooking.
Remove from pans and allow cooling completely before cutting. Form into a ball again. Cover tightly and chill at least 8 hours.
Combine ingredients in bowl or pot. Mix until just combine. When ingredients are moist, cover container and let dough sit for up to 8 hours.
When you're ready to bake, form dough into loaf. Let it raise in loaf pan for about 90 minutes. Bake in 375-degree oven for about an hour.