Simple Goodness: Whole Wheat Bread
Homemade bread is delicious and comforting, but I often find myself putting off the task of baking it. Even though basic bread recipes have wonderfully simple ingredient lists, I am easily intimidated by the finicky nature of rising dough and the hours of commitment required.
But with weekend days filled with springtime home projects, I felt it was the perfect time to tackle my reservations and revisit bread making. The actual “hands-on” time required to make bread fits easily into any schedule, and if you have other projects to do around the house, why not let some bread rise while you work?
I chose a very simple whole wheat bread that is perfect for light snacking and summer sandwiches. It holds together well when sliced, and it is great for beginners. The recipe is very straightforward, and the only word of additional wisdom is to be careful not to use water that is too hot or too cool in the first step. Yeast can be complicated, but just aim for warm/lukewarm water and you should have beautifully risen loaves!
Happy baking and happy spring!
Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup honey
2 cups all-purpose, non-bleached flour, plus ½ cup more for kneading
2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted
Combine 1 cup warm water with 2 teaspoons of active dry yeast in a large mixing bowl (if you have a standing mixer and a dough hook, use this bowl). Allow the mixture to stand for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast dissolves, giving it a small stir about half way through. Whisk in the milk and honey.
Add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour and the salt to the yeast mixture and stir thoroughly to combine. Mix in the 2 ¾ cups of whole wheat flour and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Let the mixture rest for around 15 minutes to saturate.
If you are using a standup mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 8-9 minutes. Otherwise, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead by hand until the dough is smooth, tacky, and holds its form. If the dough seems sticky, add the additional ½ cup of all-purpose flour one tablespoon at a time while kneading or mixing.
Grease a large bowl with butter or oil. Form dough into a ball and roll it around in the greased bowl to coat. Drape a cloth or towel over the bowl and set in a warm spot to rise for about 1 hour, or until approximately doubled in size. (This recipe won’t usually double, but dough should be noticeably bigger.)
After an hour, dump dough onto a floured surface and separate into two balls. Allow the balls to rest for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, grease 2 bread pans. After 10 minutes have passed, shape each ball into a loaf and place in pans. Cover the loaves again, and allow them to rise for 30-40 minutes.
About 20 minutes into the second rise, preheat oven to 425 degrees. After 30-40 minutes have passed, brush each loaf with melted butter. Using a butter-knife, poke a few holes in each loaf—you can get creative here!
Place loaves in oven and immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Images via The Vintage Mixer