Breads, Food

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread

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A couple of months ago, I decided that it I should start eating more whole grains.  This meant making my own bread instead of buying it from the grocery store, since every single loaf of bread there (even the ones marked “whole-wheat”) has a very long list of ingredients, most of which I can’t even pronounce.  So I went to Meijer and found a 5lb bag of Gold Medal whole-wheat flour and took it home with me. (After paying for it of course!)  I didn’t have a whole-wheat bread recipe, but low and behold, there was a honey-whole wheat bread recipe on the bag of Gold Medal flour.  I decided to try it out, with just one modification. (I also scaled the recipe down to make just one loaf.)  It had all-purpose flour in it and I changed that to whole-wheat.  I’m happy to say the bread turned out beautifully and tasted excellent.

Honey-Whole Wheat Bread is now my staple go-to bread.  We don’t use a lot of bread with just the two of us, so I don’t have to make it all the time.  I just stick the loaf in the freezer (after baking it) and pull out a couple of slices whenever we need a sandwich.   It’s super handy, tasty and healthy homemade bread…fast!

Homemade bread is easy to make, my only problem with it ever is the yeast.  However, if you proof the yeast (let it sit for 5-10 minutes to make sure it is activated and will rise) it takes the guesswork out of it and I never have to end up with a rock hard loaf that doesn’t rise!  I like to get my water around 105° and add it into my yeast.  I then add in a little honey (or sugar – whichever the recipe calls for) for the yeast to “eat.”  This helps it activate and rise.  After proofing the yeast, I can add it in with the rest of the flour, confident that my bread is going to rise!

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Mix yeast with warm water, and add in about 1 Tablespoon of the honey (yeast likes sugar!).
Let it sit for about 5 minutes (proof the yeast).
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Meanwhile, mix together the honey, melted butter, salt and extra warm water.
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Add in 1 1/2 cups of flour and beat for 3 minutes on medium.
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  After 5-10 minutes, the yeast is definitely rising.  Add the yeast to the rest of the flour mixture and add the rest of the flour in.
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Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy. If it’s sticky, add a little more flour – it shouldn’t stick to your hands at all.  If you have a mixer with a good dough hook, you can just knead it in the mixer for about 5-6 minutes.
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Cover and let dough rise for about 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
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Punch dough down and roll out into a rectangle.
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Starting with the short side, roll dough into a log.
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Seal the edges, turn the ends under and place in greased loaf pan.  Cover and let rise for another 45min-1 hour (or until doubled).
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.
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Freshly baked, sliced and ready to eat!
Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
(slightly adapted from Betty Crocker)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or one packet)
3 Tablespons warm water (105°-110°F)
1/4 cup honey, divided
2 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups very warm water (120°-130°F)  *I had to heat my water on the stove*
3 1/2 – 4 cups whole wheat flour

1. In small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and 1 teaspoon honey.  Proof yeast for 5-10 minutes.
2. In large mixing bowl combine butter, very warm water, salt, and remainder of honey.  Stir until honey is dissolved.   Let stand for 5 minutes.
3. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and beat with electric mixer on medium for 3 minutes.
4. Beat in the yeast mixture and one more cup of flour.  Slowly add the last 1 – 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Dough should pull away from bowl and should not stick to your hands.
5. Knead by hand for 7 – 10 minutes or leave in your mixer and knead for 5-7 minutes.  If dough is sticky, add a little more flour.  It should be smoothy and springy when finished kneading.
6. Grease bowl and top of bread and and cover lightly with plastic wrap/towel and place in a warm spot to rise.  Let it rise 45 minutes – 1 hour or until doubled.  (We have a gas stove/oven and it stays warm, so I just set it on top of the stove.  However, you may need to turn your oven on very low for the dough to be warm enough.)
7. Punch dough down and roll out into a rectangle.  Roll dough up, making sure there are no air bubbles.  Pinch the ends closed and turn ends under.  Place in greased loaf pan, cover and set in warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour or until doubled.
8. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.  Immediately remove from pan and place on a wire cooling rack.

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