I've posted about the delicious onion/herb bread that i've made from "Mary's Bread Basket and Soup Kettle" circa the 1970s that gave me the confidence to bake bread and cut out one more aisle in the grocery store. I didn't love that the bread only went with savory fillings (when used as sandwich bread) or that it was all white and lacking any whole grains. So i moved on to page 34 and tried out this bread. It's versatile in that you can add whatever sweetener you want, and it's been consistently moist and delicious every time i've baked it. It has a nice texture and is perfect for peanut butter toast to salami sammies. I mixed in some oats this time around and am looking forward to seeing what that adds to texture wise. My husband bought me a beautiful book about the 'no knead' technique for my birthday, and i think next time 'round i may try doing a slow ferment instead of the standard hour rise for this recipe. I'm ready to experiment!
Basic Whole Wheat Bread
Taken from Mary Gubser
2 packages or 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast ( i should probably do the math and convert to tablespoons, but this works for me!)
2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 cups unbleached white flour (I use bread flour)
1/2 cup hot water
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar, molasses, or honey (or agave nectar)
4-5 cups whole wheat flour
Make the sponge:
Sprinkle yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. By warm, i mean a little bit hot. Mix with a fork or danish dough whisk until yeast is dissolve, then add salt 3 tablespoons sugar and the white flour. Beat this with your danish dough whisk until it's smoothish. Cover with a towel and set in a warm spot until light and bubbly, about an hour. (this is where i may try the 'put it in the fridge over night' trick next time).
Combine hot water, melted butter and sweetener of choice. Mix and cool until lukewarm. Once the sponge is ready (should have visable popping or puffy bubbles on top) add the sugar mixture and gradually add the flour until you have a soft, workable dough. Turn onto a floured surface (use white flour for the surface and to add while kneading) and knead about 10 minutes, or until the dough bounces right back when a finger is poked into it. Place dough into a warm greased bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic and a towel until doubled, about an hour. I like to rest the bowl on the top of a stock pot or canner after something has been heated - in this case some herbal hair rinse. It makes for a warm, moist environment. Once the dough has risen (a finger pressed into the dough will leave an indent this time) turn out onto the counter and knead lightly then let rest covered for about 10 minutes. Set your oven to pre heat soon!
Divide dough into two and work into loaves. Let rise in greasted loaf pans for about 30 minutes. The dough should poof up the sides of the pans. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes and turn onto racks to cool.
I lined the pans with oats to help release the loaves. Looks pretty too. My hubby will be happy to have fresh bread at work for his sandwiches, and i may just steal half a loaf myself for occasional decadent snackage. I like to slice then freeze these loaves A. to keep my hands off and B. to extended shelf life.
This post can be found at the Barn Hop!