Here’s my experiment from yesterday with a new honey wheat bread recipe. I adapted it from Martha Stewart’s baking book. Next time, I’ll adjust it even more to suit my own quirky oven and my personal tastes. For example, the suggested eggwash ended up waaaay too dark, and next time, I’ll probably just skip it.
Click on the images below for larger versions.
3.5 cups warm water
3 Tbsp honey
0.5 oz active dry yeast
about 4.5 cups/1.5 lbs. bread flour (this will vary by moisture in the flour and humidity in the air)
about 4.5 cups/1.5 lbs. whole wheat flour (this will vary by moisture in the flour and humidity in the air)
5 oz./1 cup wheat germ (optional–I left this out)
2 Tbsp. coarse salt
Combine the water, honey, and yeast in a large vessel and stir until yeast dissolves. Let sit about 5 minutes until foamy.
In a mixer with a dough hook, or in a large bowl with a whisk, mix 4 cups of the white flour and 4 cups of the wheat flour, along with the wheat germ and salt. Add the yeast mixture to the mixer bowl and blend until it forms a good ball. If not using a mixer, add the yeast mixture to a well in the center of a pile of the flours and blend with a wooden spoon, mixing with your hands until it forms a smooth ball.
Place dough onto a lightly floured dough board or cutting board. Knead in the remaining flour a little at a time, until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may not need all of the remainder. This will probably take about 10 minutes by hand, 5 if by mixer. Place in a lightly oiled bowl (I use olive oil, but you can use whatever you like); cover lightly with a damp (NOT wet) tea towel, oiled plastic, or oiled parchment, and let rise in a warm place for about 1.5 hours.
Oil lightly 2 9×5″ loaf pans with oil, unless using stoneware, in which case you probably don’t need to bother with the oil. Punch down the dough with your fist and turn it back onto the dough board. Divide in half with a bench knife or a sharp knife. Roll each half into an even, tidy log, and place each half into its own loaf pan, with any seams on the bottom. Recover the dough with whatever you used before and let rise again for about 30-60 minutes or until doubled in bulk. The dough should be domed above the lip of the pans, but should not be drooping over the sides. If it is, you have too much dough and will either need to pinch some off to make a wee loaf separately, or will need to tuck and poke it down enough so that it fits.
Preheat oven to 375? if your oven runs hot, or 400? if it’s normal, unlike mine.
If you want, use a lame or sharp knife to slash down the center of each loaf. I did in the pictures above, but I don’t usually bother. If you want, now is when you’d add an egg wash of one egg yolk plus a Tablespoon of milk or cream. I did in the pictures above, but I won’t again, as it darkened too fast in my weirdo oven, and I don’t like that. Since the recipe makes two loaves, you could always egg wash one, and not the other, as an experiment. SCIENCE!
Bake about 45-60 minutes or until golden brown. If your oven has even heating, you probably won’t need to rotate, but if you have hot spots, rotate the pans halfway through the cooking time. If the bread is browning too fast, cover them with tinfoil for the last half of the cooking time. When done baking, let the bread cool in the pans for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooking rack. Cool completely before eating.
Slather with honey, honey butter, or sweet cream butter, and enjoy! ^_^