Monday, February 22, 2010

Honey-wheat bread

Evidently, my formspring questions have been showing up on this blog. Formspring is stalling out so I'm not going to answer any questions there until it gets sorted.

However, to make amends for this error, I'm going to post my first recipe here. It's the most basic bread recipe I know. I've made it the last two weekends in a row, because it's cold out and cold weather makes me crave warm bread. I'm also addicted to bread. It has 6 ingredients and could not be simpler. The result is a crusty, slightly sweet wheat loaf that toasts beautifully and makes excellent sandwiches, particularly with freshly sliced ham.


3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 packet yeast
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup nonfat milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Then do this:

1. In a large bowl, mix the warm water and yeast. Stir to dissolve (I use a big wooden spoon.) Add in everything else but the flour. Stir until everything's dissolved (the oil won't be, obvs, but that'll mix in fine when you add the flour.)

2. Stir in the flour gradually until you can't really stir it anymore and you have a big ball of dough in the bowl.

3. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes or so until it's all nice and smooth and your arms are tired.

4. Put a little oil in a clean bowl and turn the dough over in it to coat it. Cover the bowl loosely and put it somewhere the cats won't step in it.

5. Let it sit there and rise for an hour.

6. Take it out of the bowl and shape it into an 8-inch loaf and then put the loaf in a lightly greased loaf pan.

7. Cover the loaf pan with lightly oiled plastic wrap and leave it there until the dough rises an inch above the lip of the pan. (It took over an hour the first time I did this because my apartment was freezing. The second time it only took 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350.

8. Take off the plastic wrap and stick in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes total, but after 20 minutes, take it out and loosely cover with foil.

9. Stick it back in for another 15 minutes or so. Enjoy the aromas wafting out of the oven. Then take it out, take off the foil and brush the top with a little oil so it turns nice and brown for the last five minutes.

10. Take it out and tap the top of the loaf, if it sounds hollow it's done. If it thuds, it's still wet inside and let it go a bit longer.

11. When done, turn the loaf out onto a wire rack, or if you're too lazy to get out the wire racks, just leave it on a stove burner to cool.

At the end you get this:

Warm, sweet, delicious bread. Serve with butter.