Jun 25, 2008

Honey Wheat Bread

I have modified this recipe a bit from it's original, and every time I make it I do it different. So what you're getting here is a general idea. What I have found with baking bread is that there are so many different techniques and combinations of ingredients, that each person has to figure out what works best for them. I'll try to give you the simplified version with some substitutions at the end.

I start with ground wheat. We originally bought a manual grinder. After about an hour of my husband, myself, and my two daughters tiring ourselves and only coming up with 1 cup of wheat, we gave up that idea. We then purchased the Kitchenaid Grain Mill Attachment(look around, you can get a better price), which is wonderful! It's fast, not too loud, and works great.

1 (.25 ounce) package rapid
rise yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 cup warm water (110
degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 (12 fluid ounce) can
evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup melted shortening
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour(I just use regular white)
2 tablespoons butter (optional...I usually do without)

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water. Let sit about 10 minutes - until yeast has become a layer of foam on top of mixture.

2. Combine milk, 1/4 cup water, shortening, honey, salt and wheat flour in mixer or bowl. Mix in yeast mixture, and let rest 15 minutes. Add white flour, and mix with dough hook (or spoon) until dough forms a ball. If you have a mixer, you can turn it to 4 speed and let machine knead for about 7 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, knead about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl sprayed with non-stick spray, and turn to coat.

(this dough is actually a little more moist and sticky than usual, but it still turned out great)Cover the bowl with a warm, damp towel. Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled. If I'm in a hurry I turn the oven to warm, and when it is ready, I put the towel covered bowl in the oven and turn the oven off. This way it only takes about 20 - 25 minutes to rise.

3. Punch down, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface(depending on the dough stickiness - I usually don't flour the counter at all), and pound out the bubbles.

Cut dough in half down the middle and roll each loaf into a long cylinder - about the length of your pan.

When you transfer the dough to your buttered (I spray them with Pam)bread pans (9x5), tuck each end under itself and smush the bread into the loaf to take up the bottom of the pan.

If you wish to butter the tops of the dough, do so now. I usually just sprinkle some oatmeal on top. Cover again with damp towel. Let rise in a warm area(again, to speed things up, pop in the warm oven) until doubled; second rise should take about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. Butter crusts while warm(if desired). Slice when cool.

Variations: I usually subtract some of the white flour and make up for it by adding a combination of flax seed, wheat germ, and oatmeal. I also like to add a bit more honey. The original recipe called for only 1/4 cup, but I usually add just over 1/2 cup, and sometimes more. I'm sure you could take away more white flour(or even all of it) and add more of the wheat flour, but I prefer my bread to be a bit softer. You'll notice I don't use regular metal pans for my bread. I prefer silicone pans for most of my baking. Bread slides right out of the pan and it doesn't keep cooking hen I remove it from the oven.

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