Baking your own bread is such a calming activity. It's meditative, mindful, and so fulfilling. Not to mention that making your own bread is super cheap and you can't beat the flavor. Creating your own rustic loaf of organic homemade honey wheat bread is an easy way to get started. As with most bread, baking a loaf of organic honey wheat bread is more of an art than a science. Slight alterations in technique or ingredients allow you to find your perfect texture and flavor. This simple recipe is based on one found in the most recent edition of The Joy of Cooking.
This recipe is a great way to showcase local ingredients. I source my eggs from Wil-Moore Farms in Lugoff, S.C., my butter from Butter Patch Jerseys in Saluda, S.C., and my honey from Bear Bottom Honey in Gaston, S.C. In order to keep your loaf as eco-friendly as possible, get your flour from the bins at your local grocery store. These bins usually feature an eclectic array of flour types, including many organic varieties and if you use reusable bags you can avoid any packaging.
|Combine in a large bowl:|
|¼ cup||warm water|
|1 package||active dry yeast|
|Allow the yeast to dissolve in the warm water (about 5 minutes)|
|Add, mixing well:|
|1 large||organic egg, beaten|
|¼ cup||organic butter, melted|
|2 ½ cups||warm water|
|1 ½ tsp||sea salt|
|½ cup||organic honey|
|Add, mixing well:|
|4 cups||organic white bread flour|
|2 cups||organic whole wheat bread flour|
|2 cups||organic multigrain flour|
- Combine the flour into the wet ingredients in a large bowl using a wooden spoon or in a stand-up mixer with a bread arm attachment on a low setting. Slowly add the flour until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. You may have to finish the kneading process by hand to get good sticky dough.
- If so, pile the dough onto a large cutting board. If the cutting board slides around on the counter, place a towel underneath to stop any slippage. Knead until the dough is soft, elastic, and slightly sticky. The dough, however, should not stick to your hands (about 10 minutes).
- Place the round dough ball into a medium sized bowl that has been lightly oiled with extra virgin olive oil. Tightly cover the bowl with a clean towel and set in a warm place, such as the oven. Just make sure that it is turned off. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
- Uncover the bowl and punch the dough down using a closed fist. This releases some of the gas produced in the bread from the fermentation process, so be gentle. Those gases can produce a great texture inside the loaf.
- Shape the dough into a round loaf and cut evenly into two halves. Gently form each half into a thick cylinder about 9 inches long. Begin to roll the dough away from you on a lightly floured cutting board, spreading your fingers out as you go. This will form a thick loaf that should fit snuggly into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Remember, don't over-do it. You want to be as gentle as possible to preserve the gases and a light texture inside.
- Round the ends of the loaves by folding each end underneath the bottom of the loaf. This will ensure that the loaves have a finished, professional appearance.
- Grease the inside of two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans with organic butter. Place each loaf into a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and cover with a clean, lightly floured towel. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in bulk (about 45 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Score each loaf by slicing the tops several times as if you were cutting the loaf, a I I I I I pattern. The slices should be made at a 45 degree angle and should go about a half an inch deep. Do not cut straight down. The scoring cuts guide the expansion of the bread while it is in the oven. Without the scoring cuts, the interior of the bread could break through the crust.
- Bake the bread on the oven's center rack for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the bottom of each loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- About 5 minutes prior to removing the loaves, brush each with melted butter.
- Remove the loaves from the oven and let cool.
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