Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

(All photos courtesy of Sonja, from Simply Sonja Photography based in Bellevue, WA)

One of my most requested recipes, my Honey Whole Wheat bread! This bread is half whole wheat (fresh ground, if you can), half white flour, and all awesome. I use fresh-ground red wheat, but white-wheat would make a tamer taste, as well as a slightly smoother crumb.

One of the tricks is to use plenty of honey and olive oil. These two things condition the wheat to give you a nice smooth, sweet bread.

Fresh ground red wheat going into the 20 year old Bosch mixer. (I use the Bosch when I make 4-loaf batches. We keep one loaf out and freeze the rest. They come out of the freezer even better than when they went in.)

One thing you absolutely must do is to mix in the whole wheat flour FIRST, and then add white flour. This allows the whole wheat flour to plump up a bit and get evenly dispersed. The white flour can then work around it to form the gluten network it needs to make non-crumbly bread.

You can stop adding flour when your bread looks like this for a super fluffy, light loaf.

If your bread gets to this point, you will have a denser, sturdier loaf, perfect for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

All rounded up and ready for its first rise. I needed the mixer for something else, so I moved my dough to a greased bowl to rise, instead of just letting it rise in the mixer.

All baked up and ready to bag or eat!

LoLo Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Yield 2 loaves

2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp. salt
4 cups of whole wheat flour (or 2 cups of wheat berries, ground. I measure whole wheat, not wheat flour. Fresh is best.)
2-4 cups of all-purpose flour

In the bowl of your mixer, combine water, yeast, olive oil, honey, salt and whole wheat flour. Mix until well combined, then add 2 cups of white flour. Continue to add white flour until the dough just pulls away from the side of the bowl. A stiffer dough will give you a denser bread. A lighter dough, with less white flour, will get you a fluffier bread. Once the dough is how you like it, continue to knead for 5 more minutes. Turn off your mixer, remove your dough hook, cover with a damp towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size (about an hour, in Seattle conditions). Remove dough from the bowl, divide into two loaves, *form and place into greased loaf pans. Allow to rise until larger by about 50%, then bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with your fingernail.

To see how I form my loaves, go here. To find the rest of this bread course, go here.