I like to hunt for things to bake. I set my sights on a particular project, like, say, blueberry muffins, or, in this case, whole wheat bread, and I search and bake and repeat until I find THE version to die for. These mini-obsessions help me stay sane, especially when I’m faced with a blank “sheet of paper” on Word and a big paper deadline looming. I get to set something in motion while I work away on my intellectual shtuff, and when two hours pass and the dough has risen, I am rewarded with a much-needed kneading break. Because come on– who doesn’t love the stress-relieving physicality of kneading and twisting and squeezing some dough… and then eating it?
I want to find a bread to replace every pre-sliced, plastic-bagged grocery brand I’ve ever had. I’m not quite there yet, but this one’s the best one I’ve made to date. Great fresh, toasted, with hummus or preserves, and as french toast days later 🙂
Light Wheat Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2.5 cups bread flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 Tablespoons honey
1.5 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons powdered milk (we had some leftover from Snowmaggedon)
1.5 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.25 cups of room temperature water
1. In a mug, mix together yeast and 1/4 cup of warm-ish water. Stir to dissolve, and set aside to activate while you combine the dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl mix combine bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and powdered milk.
3. Add yeast mix, butter, honey, and the last cup of water to the bowl of dry ingredients.
4. Stir together until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Add a little water if necessary.
5. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, kneading for about 10 minutes until smooth. You want a firm but supple dough, so add flour or water accordingly.
6. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to ferment at room temperature until double in size, about 1.5-2 hours.
7. After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and press (with your hands!) into a rectangle 3/4 inches thick and about 6 by 8 inches.
8. Form the loaf by rolling starting from the short side of the rectangle. Be sure to pinch the bread down each time you roll it to add surface tension (and keep you bread from breaking apart while baking). Once you’re done rolling, pinch the ends together and place in a lightly oiled bread pan (8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches).
9. Lightly spray the top with cooking oil and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes until the bread rises above the brim of the pan.
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
11. Place bread pan on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan 180 degrees and bake for an additional 15-30 minutes until golden.
12. Once done baking, immediately remove from the pan and place on a rack to cool. You can also check it’s done-ness by tapping it on the bottom — it will sound hollow.
13. Allow to cool for 1-2 hours before slicing.
14. You just made some bread!
‘Chefski’s a master bread-slicer