January 11, 2009

Homemade Honey Wheat Bread

I remember trying to make biscuits from scratch for homework in my junior high foods class. It was a disaster. The dough didn't rise, and the biscuits were hard as hockey pucks. My dad made fun of me for a while.

My Grandma Green used to make the best white bread...big, soft loaves that we'd eat warm with butter. My dad loved when Grandma would have a fresh loaf ready for us when we visited. My dad liked fresh bread so much that we'd even buy warm loaves at Silver Dollar City when we were on vacation and eat them with some blackberry jam we'd also purchased.

But, we never had fresh bread at home. My mom wasn't much of a baker, and my dad could only make pancakes and mayonnaise sandwiches.

Several years ago, I decided to make fresh bread and homemade jam for my dad for Christmas. The jam was good, but the bread was reminiscent of those biscuits...flat and dense. I tried a couple different recipes, but nothing turned out right.

That's why I was so excited to learn about the no-knead bread recipe last year...finally, a bread I couldn't screw up!

Tonight, however, I thought I'd try a traditional bread recipe again. I've mastered pie dough and pasta, so I was confident with mixing and kneading bread dough.

I was a little skeptical when I first kneaded the dough. It seemed hard, tough. It let it rise, thinking that it would never double...but after I moved the bowl to the radiator, it rose just fine.

I did notice that it didn't rise much more (if any) during baking, so I didn't get the big sandwich loaf I was hoping for. Nonetheless, it was pretty good!

Honey Wheat Bread

1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon half & half
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons instant active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
olive oil for greasing bowl & pan
1 egg for egg wash
oats (optional)
  • Combine the first 5 ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer & stir with a whisk.
  • Sprinkle the yeast on top of the wet ingredients, cover with a towel and let proof while you measure out the flour.
  • Add the flour to the yeast mixture & mix with a stand mixer fitted with dough hook just until the ingredients all come together to form a ball and now dry flour is left in the bottom.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead by hand until it's smooth and elastic, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Please the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat the dough. Cover with a towel and leave in a warm place to rise until doubled. (I set the bowl on top of the radiator.)
  • Punch the dough down, then knead for a few minutes until smooth. Form into a loaf and placed in a greased loaf pan. Let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size.
  • Brush the top of the dough with the egg (mixed with a tablespoon of water) and sprinkle with some oats (if using).
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes. Remove the loaf and let cool on a wire rack.


Anonymous said...

Your loaf looks perfect. I love home-baked bread. It's a lot easier than people think and it always tastes good.

TeaLady said...

Your bread looks fantastic. I love making bread. And home made is sooooo much better than commercial 'air' at the stores.

PFRussell said...

I just made a loaf of this bread, and 3 hours after it came out of the oven half of it is gone... funny thing about that!

It's delicious!