Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

I’ve never been a huge bread fan. At least not when it came to the store bought kind. I ate it when I was a kid because…well, I ate everything when I was a kid. But I much preferred a pack of Lemonheads or a piece of fried chicken. Now though, I kind of like some of the store kinds. Not the ones in the bread aisle; they still suck donkey toes. But I love how so many grocery stores are now branching out into making artisan breads or at the very least, they stock more than an occasional loaf of stale French bread.

The problem with the fact that stores have gone gourmet is that I now bake less (as the lack of posts shows). When it’s so easy to grab a loaf of fresh rye bread or fresh Vienna bread at ones local Kroger, it is easy to become lazy. And since lazy and I are friends from way back (I could tell you stories about my mother being convinced that I would never ever learn to keep a house clean. Mom, wherever you are, I’m sure you’re tickled that I now keep a clean home and am actually pretty anal about it.), I’ve been lazy. And being me, I have felt guilty about being lazy. I haven’t been giving my family the baked goods they love nor keeping up in here. But now, with the weather getting colder, I, like so many of you, am back to baking. Yay for baking! You will not however, be getting the recipe for the pumpkin sticky buns I made the other day because they pretty much stunk. I have another version I will be trying and posting. Todays homemade bread though? Yep; you’re getting that recipe. This comes form the cookbook Bon Appetit, Y’all” I love this cookbook. Good southern cooking and the writing is sweet in parts, funny in others. There is a recipe in there for Honey Whole Wheat bread. Since I’ve been trying to eat better, I wanted to make this as opposed to say, one for “There is no nutrition whatsoever in this bread” white bread. Though I’m not sure the home made honey butter I slathered all over my piece helped the cause of nutrition hehe.

This is easily made. I don’t have a stand mixer so I did the mixing part by hand. Do your arm exercises; this is a heavy dough 😛 The original recipe calls for shaping this and putting it into loaf pans but I wanted a more rustic look so went for hand shaped freeform loaves. Now this is NOT a light airy loaf so if that’s what you’re looking for, this isn’t the recipe for you. This is a heavy, fairly dense loaf. It’s also chock full of flavor and nutrition from the whole wheat flour and wheat germ. I also added some of this Harvest Grains Blend  from King Arthur Flour which upped both the flavor and the nutrition. if you can buy some of this, do so. It’s a wonderfully tasty addition to many baked goods.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

  • 3 1/4 cup warm water (no hotter than 115 degrees; about 110 is optimal for blooming yeast)
  • 1/3 cup good quality honey
  • 2 packets dry yeast
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup Harvest Grains Blend (optional- could also throw in a mix of say, sunflower kernels and flax seed)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt (yes, 2; sea salt takes more than table salt to get the same flavor)
  1. In a large measuring cup, mix together the warm water, yeast and honey. Stir to dissolve then set aside while you mix the other ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, bread flour, wheat germ, salt and grain blend (if using)
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture (it should be nice and foamy by now). Mix this together well; either by hand or if you are blessed to have a stand mixer, on low speed with the dough hook. Mix just until it is well combined.
  4. Dump the dough (and any dregs in the bowl) out onto a lightly floured board (kitchen counter in my case). Knead the dough well, adding a LITTLE more flour at a time if sticky, until it forms a cohesive mass. Continue to knead for about 10 minutes. You want dough that is smooth and elastic and that, if you poke it, is somewhat springy.
  5. Plop the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn the dough to make sure all of it is oiled, then cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and put in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in bulk.
  6. When risen, divide in half and either shape into loafs and put into oiled loaf pans or as I did, make into 2 freeform loaves. If you do this, put each one onto an oiled baking sheet. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. While they are rising, preheat your oven to 400. If your oven runs hot, go down to 375. The bottoms on mine got a bit too brown at 400. Bake until nicely browned, about 45 minutes (again; ovens are different so check after about 30 minutes). They should sound hollow when tapped on top.
  8. If in loaf pans,  cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack.
  9. Serve with every bad for you spread you can think of 😀

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