Honey Whole Wheat Bread

In my hometown where I grew up there was bread factory. The smell of delicious fresh baked bread permeated the still early morning air. It was a stark contrast from the pungent aroma of rotten oranges emanating from the orange juice factory on the opposite side of town. Accompanied by the fishy stench from the ocean side.

My experience with bread making has seen more failures than successes. Nevertheless I refuse to accept defeat. I now have a small arsenal of bread recipes. That despite my lack of talent tends to come out no matter what. In fact, the dough for Honey Whole Wheat Bread has never been the same every time I make it. Yet the final result is always the same.

My idea of a good bread recipe uses minimal ingredients and is user friendly. This recipe accomplishes both. The idea of letting the sponge (wheat flour and water) rest for an hour is genius. No bitter flavor here. I read once years ago that honey was used in wheat bread to offset the strong flavor of the wheat. However, honey can also contain an overpowering flavor. So often my whole wheat loaves were bitter due to the combination of honey and wheat bran. In the King Arthur Whole Grains cookbook the recipe for whole wheat sandwich bread calls for orange juice instead of honey. They claim the OJ placates the strong flavor from the wheat. Still the recipe involves the additional ingredients of potato flakes and dry milk. These three ingredients were not a common staple in the pantry. Thus, the recipe did not meet my criteria for a good loaf of bread.

This recipe yields a tender crumb and no bitter taste. Yet it is a hearty loaf. This is not a recipe for a light airy wheat sandwich bread.

Source: The Fresh Loaf
makes two loaves
1 pound whole wheat flour (3 cups)
12 ounces hot water
8 ounces bread or all-purpose flour (2 cups)
1 5 ounces milk
1/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons instant yeast

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 or in a large 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.