Monday, March 10, 2008

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread

This was my first attempt at solo-whole wheat bread baking. It was tasty, but two loaves proved to be a bit much as it was pretty hearty. I think next time I would freeze or give away one of the loaves. I liked the bread, although I found it a little dry...I think I like a bread with a little fat in it (this has only got fat in the glaze on top). It was certainly fun to knead though, and in any case more delicious than grocery store bread.

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread (From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

3 1/2 c warm water
3 T honey
2 envelopes active dry yeast
4 1/2 c bread flour
4 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
1 c wheat germ
2 T salt
1 large egg yolk
1 T heavy cream

1. Combine warm water, honey, and yeast in a large liquid measuring cup, stirring until yeast dissolves. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 4 c bread flour with all the whole wheat flour, the wheat germ, and the salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined.

3. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Gently knead in the remaining 1/2 bread flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth and elastic, 10-15 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush 2 9x5 loaf pans with oil. Punch down the dough, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half. Flatten one half into an oval the length of the pan and roll up lengthwise, gently pressing as you go to form a tight log. Place the log, seam side down, into a prepared pan. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover load pans with oiled plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes.

5. Using a sharp knife, slash the loaves down the center to make one long slash. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk and cream together, then brush over the tops of the loaves.

6. Bake until deeply golden brown, 50-60 minutes. (If they brown too fast, cover with tin foil.) Transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes; then turn out loaves and cool before serving.

Warning--these rose quite a bit in the oven for me...I had them on the top rack because things on the lower rack tend to burn on the bottom...and they rose so high they got stuck by the lip of the oven door and I had to pull them out very don't go for the top rack on these. :)

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