I'm thankful I have the Bosch mixer which allows me to make 6 loaves of bread at one time, and I don't have to do the kneading. :-) I also have a Whisper Mill wheat grinder, but believe me, it grinds much louder than a whisper!
The following 2 pictures show how I shape each loaf. Basically, I just gather the dough into an oval shape, smoothing out the top as I go. I then pinch the dough together into a "seam" (can you tell I like to sew?) and then place the shaped loaf into my pan, seam side down.
Fresh out of the oven!
I always brush softened butter onto each loaf. It helps make the crust soft, and I think it makes the bread look pretty, too.
Recipe: This is the recipe that I typed out for my older girls when I first taught them to make our bread years ago. The original copy is well worn, burned in one spot, discolored with oil and flour spills, and with a few changes penciled in. I plan on printing out another copy and teaching Ellen how to make the bread. At 11 years old she'll do just fine.
Basic Bread The Smith Way
6 cups hot tap water
2/3 cup oil
2/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons quick-rise yeast
freshly ground whole wheat flour---lots of it
2 eggs (optional, but I did use them in the bread pictured)
Mix the above ingredients all together in the Bosch bowl. (Measure the oil before the honey so that the honey will come out of the measure cup easily). Let the mixture "sponge" for 10 mintues or until bubbly. (You can be grinding the rest of your wheat during this time).
2-3 tablespoons of salt
3 tablespoons of dough enhancer (I didn't have any, so I omitted it).
2 tablespoons of vital gluten (I also omitted this).
Mix briefly, then add more flour as the mixer is running. Add enough flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. The dough will feel more sticky than not sticky, but not too sticky. :-)
Note: I added about 1-1/2 cups of white flour in this batch because I like the taste and texture better than if I use 100% whole wheat.
Knead for 4 minutes on speed 2, or longer if you think it needs more.
Grease your pans (I use a non-stick spray).
Spread a little oil on your hands and on the counter, and then take the dough out of the mixer. Shape into 6 or 7 loaves and place loaves in pans. Let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and then put bread into oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown. When the bread is finished, turn the loaves onto a cooling rack and brush with butter.