Monday, July 20, 2009

Weirdest Looking Bread I've Ever Made: Dark Wheat Honey Bread

It's been about a week since I last made a loaf of bread, and besides running out of things to toast (which is basically all I eat, all the time), my hands were itching to bake. My brother-in-law (hereafter known as beloved BIL #2) recently told me that he is interested in adding whole grains and healthier bread to his diet. We came to an agreement pretty quickly- if he brought me a bag of rye flour, i would make him a loaf of bread.

BIL #2 came back a week later with a bag of dark wheat flour. well, not exactly what we had discussed, but have flour will make bread! So off I went trailing the net for recipes. I found a recipe for honey whole wheat bread courtesy of Floyd from The Fresh Loaf that looked great, and decided to try and adapt the recipe to the flour I have and use recently learnt techniques.

Notes on the method: I decided to let the dough rest for a while before kneading it, so I let it "autolyse" for a bit under an hour before kneading it for about ten minutes. Then I put the dough in the fridge while I went out. When I got home later that evening I stretched the dough and folded it, and put it back in the fridge. When I woke up the next morning I took it out of the fridge, stretched and folded, and let it rise a bit more.

After about an hour I divided the dough in two, let it rest for ten, and shaped the dough into loaves. I put them in the oven with a bowl of just-boiled water and let them rise for another hour. I left the house at this point- which goes to show you that bread baking is all about good planning! Note to self: If you know you are going out, put your dough in the fridge! Dont plan on baking it! Anyways, I left the bread in my Mom's care with instructions to turn the oven up all the way after about an hour of proofing (after taking out the bowl of water out of the oven and drying off the glass door), and then after about ten minutes turn the oven down. Bake until internal temp reaches 190.

I think the dough might have overproofed a bit at the end- so the loaves kind of flopped over the edges of the pan. Also, I should have known that when you let any dough rise slowly, you can use way less yeast. I used three teaspoons and found that the dough had tons of air bubbles, which made it slightly hard to form at the end. There wasn't enough flour at the beginning- the dough was really sticky. I should have just added more flour, instead of adding more later- which, combined with not such good forming skills made for this GAPING HOLE in the middle of my loaf.

I'm definitely going to make this again (gonna try for one without a giant hole :) ) . It was delicious! Hope you enjoy your loaf BIL#2! And thank you Floyd for the recipe!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
makes two loaves
1 lb whole wheat flour
12 oz hot water
8 ounces bread or all-purpose flour
1 5 oz can evaporated milk (or milk, or more water or soy if you are vegan)
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast
an additional 1/2-1 cup flour, as necessary, to achieve the desired consistency

Mix the hot water and whole wheat flour together in a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic and set aside until around room temperature, at least 1 hour.

Add the milk, honey, salt, yeast, and bread flour to the original mixture and mix until well combined. Add additional flour and knead by hand or in a stand mixer until a tacky but not completely sticky dough is formed. Place the ball of dough in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.

Divide the dough in two and shape the loaves. Place the loaves in greased bread pans, cover the pans loosely with plastic (I put them in a plastic bag), and set aside to rise again for 90 minutes.

During the final 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the pans into the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans once so that they brown evenly, until the internal temperature of the loaves is around 190 degrees and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

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