Sunday, August 1, 2010

Honey Wheat Bread

Because of our money-saving mode, we have been taking our lunches every day. Which isn't a huge deal for me, because my lunch is basically a granola bar and some wheat crackers. But poor Tom has been stuck with that plus the same old chicken sandwich with horseradish sauce every day for the last 2 months. Sometimes he'd be really crazy and substitute peanut butter and jelly. Insane, right?Well, he finally reached his breaking point (who could blame him?) and yelled uncle. Really he yelled "I can't eat this s*&!t anymore," but I digress. So we spent a little while brainstorming what he could eat and decided on some pretty tasty options, and one of the main changes is using homemade bread. Which I'm super excited about.
The first recipe I decided to try is a honey-wheat bread, and for a yeast bread* it's pretty simple. Next time I will be better about forming it to fit the pan, as I didn't pinch the folds together well enough and some of my slices were perfectly baked in 3 separated parts. But all in all a success. Oh, and the taste? Amazing!

*If you're new to yeast breads, this is a good one to start with. It calls for instant yeast, which doesn't have to be proofed in the same way as regular active yeast. Make sure you buy the right stuff though!

Honey Wheat Bread
adapted from Essentials of Baking and The Bread Baker's Apprentice

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tbsp. honey (I used clover honey)
1 1/2 tsps. salt
3 tbsps. instant non-fat dry milk
1 1/2 tsps. instant yeast
2 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature

1. Combine flours, salt, dry milk and yeast in a medium-sized bowl. Add the butter, honey and water. Stir until all the ingredients come together and form a ball. If your mixture is still a bit dry (mine was) slowly add a bit more water until it combines.

2. Dust the counter with whole wheat flour and transfer the dough ball onto the counter. Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes. (You can use a dough hook & mixer for 6 minutes, but kneading is probably the most relaxing thing in the world, so why would you?). Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the kneaded dough into the bowl. Roll the dough around to coat it with oil and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.

3. Leave the dough out at room temperature until it has doubled in size. Between 1 to 2 hours. To tell if it has truly doubled, insert two fingers into the dough, if the indentation stays (doesn't bounce back) you're good to go.

4. Remove the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a rectangle, about 6 inches x 10 inches. With the short side of the dough closest to you, fold the dough up to the middle of the rectangle. Pinch the seam (really, do this!). Now fold the short edge farthest away from you, to the edge closest to you and pinch the seam until the dough comes together.

5. Lightly oil your 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (mine is glass, but metal works just as well). And place your formed loaf inside, making sure that the ends of the loaf touch the ends of the pan. Spray a little cooking spray over top of the loaf and cover with plastic wrap.

6. Proof at room temperature until the dough rises just over the lip of the pan. This took about 40 minutes in my summer-hot apartment, but could take up to 90 minutes. Just keep an eye on it.

7. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle.

8. Bake the bread for 30 minutes, it should be golden brown on top. Tip it out of the pan and insert an instant read thermometer in the underside, the temperature should be about 190°F in the middle.

9. Let rest for about 2 hours before slicing. I enjoyed a slice (or two) and then froze the rest for sandwiches during the week.


  1. Looks gorgeous! I use a similar recipe when making my own sandwich bread:)

    Lovin' the new blog!

  2. thanks Emily!!! hope married life is treating you well :o)

  3. Great looking bread. I have yet to produce a good wheat loaf.

  4. Joy: I think this is a great one to try. It's about 1/3 whole-wheat flour, so it has substance and flavor without being super dense. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  5. looks great. i've made whole wheat bread once or twice but yours looks way better =)

  6. the twins: thanks! I do think getting the right ratio of flours is key. I also swear by hand kneading...

  7. Jil
    I really like the pictures that you have taken they look really nice!!

  8. thanks Janet! it's nice to have your sister visit your blog... now if only our mother would stop by every once and a while :o)