I confess, this is a repeat from last March. But I really did make this bread this week and it is oh-so-delicious and I really think you should make it too. So I'm posting it again. Consider this a kick in the butt.
To kind of go along with the book review I did yesterday [remember: last March], I thought I'd share a recipe with you for something my family loves.
I don't just mean we love it with all small letters. We L-O-V-E with all caps this recipe.
For some reason this winter I started making bread. To be honest, Jo-Lynn was my inspiration--she's the one who introduced me to Michael Pollan and is really into healthy eating. And she bakes her own bread. Imagine.
But I got to thinking that my family would probably enjoy a slice of homemade bread every now and then, plus it's so much better for them, so I bought a bag of whole wheat flour and went to town.
Not literally--I already live in town. You know what I mean.
Anyway, the recipe I'm going to share with you came from Allrecipes.com and is really not that hard. You can do it. I know you can. I've made this about five times and it has turned out perfectly every time. (And thank goodness it cooperated this time since I was taking pictures and blogging about it and all.)
First, you mix together 3 cups of warm water with 2 packages yeast, 1/3 cup honey, and 5 cups white flour (or "bread flour" whatever that is).
Let those ingredients get happy for a while, as Emeril would say. Oh, about 30 minutes, until it's ooey and gooey.
Mix in some melted butter, another 1/3 cup honey and some salt. Here's where you need some whole wheat flour--about 3 or 4 cups.
Stir it into the rest of the dough and then knead it, adding whole wheat flour as you go until it's still slightly sticky.
(The recipe says to knead it with your hands, but this is where I pull out the trusty Kitchen Aid mixer. Even though mine is a smaller model and the dough spills up over the dough hook, it's worth it.)
Let all this mess rise for about an hour or so until it's doubled. Like this.
Shape it into three loaves and let them rise in the pans for about another hour.
Bake them. When they are done, you'll have three gorgeous loaves of whole wheat bread that your family will L-O-V-E.
Now, I hear the weather around these parts is going to be on the nasty side this weekend (don't tell anyone I said this, but the weatherman said something about little white flakes falling from the sky again. I just can't bear it, can you?), so I think it would be a very good time to practice your bread making skills. Seriously. Get the pans out and have fun.
Your family will L-O-V-E you!
Here's the recipe in case you couldn't follow what I was saying up there.
Simple Whole Wheat Bread (from Allrecipes.com)
3 cups warm water (110 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/3 C honey
5 C bread flour
3 T butter, melted
1/3 C honey
1 T salt
3 1/2 C whole wheat flour
2 T butter, melted
1. In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 C honey. Add 5 C white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
2. Mix in 3 T. melted butter, 1/3 C honey, and salt. Stir in 2 C whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky--just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 2 to 4 C of whole wheat flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled.
3. Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9x5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 T. melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely (unless you live in my house and the bread does not even make it to the cooled stage).
Oh, I have to tell you that I have discovered the joys of bread flour. It's flour. That you use to make bread. It makes the bread wonderfully soft and perfect. So find some and use it. You'll thank me for it.
For a printable version of this recipe, click here.