Thursday, April 10, 2014

Honey Wheat Bread

The other evening I decided to do a quick yoga practice while this bread was baking in the oven. Let me tell you, there is nothing better than deep-breathing in honey wheat bread fumes for 40 minutes.

This is my first time making "sandwich bread." I have dabbled in baguettes and have fair experience making quick breads but for some reason the slice-able, sandwich making breads intimidate me. I guess it is one of those things I thought wouldn't be better homemade. Because apparently I am ridiculous.

Making bread at home is a little time consuming, but it is gratifying, tastes damn good and will make your entire house (or tiny apartment) smell wonderful.

This bread has honey in it but is not super sweet. The mixture of regular all purpose (AP) flour and whole wheat flour give this bread a well rounded flavor and keep it from being too dense. It is the perfect canvas for making toast or any sort of sandwich.

I like to let my doughs rise in a pre-warmed oven. Fifteen or so minutes before I make the dough I will turn the oven on low. I will turn the oven off right as I start mixing the dough (keeping the door shut). Then, once my dough is mixed and placed in an oiled bowl I throw a tea towel over the top of the bowl and pop the entire thing into the oven.

This bread gets two rises, one in the bowl and one after being shaped and placed in a loaf pan.

Once baked, the top is brushed with melted butter. I may have been heavy handed during this step.

I wish there was a scented candle that smells like baked bread and melted butter. Until then...

Honey Wheat Bread
makes 1 loaf

1 1/2- 2 c AP flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 c honey
1 egg
- - -
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine 1c AP flour, the whole wheat flour, yeast and salt
2. In a small saucepan gently warm milk, water honey and butter until melted and warm (not hot) about 130F
3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture; add egg; mix until evenly moistened
4. Add remaining (or most depending on how wet/dry your dough looks) AP flour; when dough is mostly mixed turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth; form into a round
5. Mist a large bowl with baking spray and place dough round into it, turning once to coat the top
6. Cover with a tea towel and allow dough to rise for 1 hr+ (until it has doubled in size)
7. Grease a 9" loaf pan
8. After dough has doubled, press down and gather into a rough loaf shape; place in the prepared loaf pan
9. Cover with the tea towel and allow dough to rise for 40 minutes, the dough should just be peaking over the edge of the pan
10. Pre-heat oven to 375F and bake for 35-45 minutes; the top will be a rich brown color and it will sound hollow when tapped
11. Remove pan from oven, brush the top of the bread with melted butter and cool completely on a rack before slicing

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