Sunday, September 13, 2009

honey whole wheat bread

I may have mentioned before that I find yeast breads a bit stressful. My mother says this is a bit ridiculous. She loves to bake bread and makes it look like an easy, enjoyable hobby that always provides her family with fresh, healthy, tasty bread, and the house with that wonderful baking smell. She has urged me on several occasions to get over my fear and just try it out.

I have made many quick breads before, including most recently an Irish soda bread that was delicious and easy. But yeast breads scare me because the yeast can be so unpredictable, or so I thought. My mother says the opposite is true. She says you can ignore the fiddly proofing (mixing it with warm water at the start of the process), just use room temperature yeast and mix it well with the flour. And she said you never need to knead for as long as recipes say. Just do it! she keeps saying.

So I finally did. A couple of weeks ago I tried out some whole wheat rolls that were a disaster--but looking back I see that the yeast was a bit cold (I keep it in the fridge) and I burned the milk I was meant to scald. So for my second attempt I switched to a recipe from my well-loved More-With-Less cookbook, utterly reliable when it comes to healthy, sensible breads and meals. I followed the recipe exactly this time (and it doesn't even call for proofing!). This time the results were better! The bread was a great success! We ate one of my little loaves over the next few days and I sliced and froze the other to take to work this week.

I only have one loaf pan, so I made a half recipe (but it still made these two little loaves!). Here is the full recipe.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
makes 2 [larger] loaves

Combine in mixer bowl:
3 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c nonfat dry milk
1 T salt
2 T dry yeast

Heat in saucepan [or microwave] until warm:
3 c water or potato water
1/2 c honey
2 T oil

Pour warm (not hot) liquid over flour mixture. Beat with electric mixer for 3 minutes.
Stir in:
1 c additional whole wheat flour
4 to 4 1/2 c white flour

Knead for 5 minutes, usnig additinal white flour if necessary. Place in greased bowl, turn, let rise until double in bulk.
Punch down, divide dough in half, and shape into loaves. Place in greased 9x5" bread pans.
Cover and let rise 40 to 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 F/190 C for 40 to 45 minutes.


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