The old recipe I used to use called for the dough to be shaped into a round and baked on a baking sheet. The resulting loaf was dense (or I guess you could call it "rustic") and it was awkward to slice and fit into a toaster. So off I went to find a new recipe.
When there seems to be a thousand recipes floating around out there for the same thing, I often turn to allrecipes.com. Plugging in "whole wheat bread" into their search yielded 83 recipes. This 5-star "Simple Whole Wheat Bread" was rated 414 times. I had to try it, of course.
The results are a big improvement over the old doorstop of a loaf I used to make. Brushing the top with melted butter before and after baking creates a pillow-soft crust, rather than the crisp shiny one an egg wash creates. The bread smelled like warm honey and butter when it came out of the oven and had a mildly sweet flavour. Delish. I added some sunflower seeds to it, but I like my bread "seedier" so there's room for improvement next time. I'd probably also let it rise longer for a lighter texture. But for now, please excuse me. My ham and swiss on whole wheat is calling.
Simple Whole Wheat Bread
Yield: 3 loaves
- 3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup honey
- 5 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups white bread flour, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
- Mix in 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup honey, and salt. Stir in 2 cups 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 cups 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.
- Punch down, and divide into 3 loaves. Place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch.
- Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely.
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