Though I'm still loyal to my Peter Reinhart book for making whole wheat versions of fancier breads (challah, cinnamon rolls, bagels, pita etc.), I've discovered that nothing beats my mother-in-law's recipe for simplicity, softness and tastiness. If I'm going to be making all our bread, the process needs to be pretty darn simple or it's just not going to happen. I can whip this up in under half an hour (just hands on time, not rising and baking, but you can do other stuff while that's happening).
To make two loaves, mix 3.5 cups warm water, 1.5 tsp. yeast, and 1/4 c. honey in your mixer bowl and let the yeast proof. Next mix up and add half of your 7 cups of whole wheat flour (3.5 cups), 2 tsp salt and 2 heaping tablespoons lecithin granules or olive oil (I use olive oil because I have a bunch, but I think the lecithin makes it even spongier). Mix it all up and let it sit for one minute. You can just use a wooden spoon here.
Now add the second half of the flour (another 3.5 cups). I do this part in the Kitchenaid. Mix it on high for 7 min. Then let sit for 15 minutes. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and divide in it half (I use one of those big pastry scrapers). It will be quite sticky and stretchy (see the first photo), so work quickly and with plenty of flour. Shape it loosely into loaves, put it in two pans and let it rise until it's sticking over the top of the pan. I line my pans with parchment paper and reuse it over and over. Bake the bread at 350 for 35min.
Final step: slice off a big, fat piece, slather it with butter and honey and sink your teeth in! At least half a loaf always disappears within the first few minutes of it coming out ofthe oven. The second loaf I pop into the freezer where it keeps and thaws beautifully. I make this recipe at least once a week; it's perfect for sandwiches, toast, dipping in soup etc. I know my mother-in-law does a double batch and makes four at once, so you could easily double it as well. Enjoy!