The recipe I have used since I was 13 has been touch and go with whole grains. I have experimented with various grains, but as soon as I pulled away from using white flour, it would get dense and heavy. It took a fine balance to make good bread/buns with that.
This August, Chad and I finally cashed in our wedding gift from Diedrich & Helen Toews (I know, 2 years later!), and went and spent a night at their beautiful B&B- Garden of Arden, which is just outside of Gladstone. Mrs. Toews gave me her incredible bread recipe, and it is ridiculous, no fail. (she also gave me her Butterhorns recipe, as well as the delectable, jam filled tea biscuits, but that is for another day. And no, to those that would tackle me for one of said biscuits, I have none on hand right now. Sarah and Keira, make them yourself! :P)
Anyhow, back to the bread- I kid you not. It rises like something possessed- I joke that it has NO self control! I ground a bunch of hard grain today, and supplemented the rest (maybe about 4-5 cups or so) of store bought whole wheat flour. Next time I'm using ONLY self ground wheat!!! This stuff rises like crazy, and is SO insanely light. I have never, ever experienced this before, especially with home ground whole wheat flour. (the heaviest stuff) My mom gave us her flour mill (and Chad fixed it), so I'm having alot of fun with that. We had Spelt bread for Thanksgiving, and I made whole wheat buns today. It is SO easy to make this stuff- I made it in an evening.
It is also very, very tasty bread. Store bought simply cannot compare!! I plan to experiment with different mixtures of grains, as well as whole grains. (flax, millet, sunflower seeds, etc. Yumm!) It's really the tastiest, healthiest bread around.
I know that making bread has been cracked up to be such a huge, impossible feat.
Helen Toews' Bread
4 cups Flour
1/2 tbsp Salt
1/3 cup Sugar
2 tbsp instant Yeast
Make a well, and add:
1/2 cup oil
4 cups very warm water
Knead to make a good, elasticy dough, and set in a covered bowl to rise. Punch down 3 times, every 15 minutes. On the 4th time, punch down and form into loaves or buns. (or anything else) **you can almost WATCH this stuff rise- it goes SO quickly!)
Bake at 350 until well browned and done