January 6, 2010

What's Cookin': Honey Wheat Bread

We go through a TON of bread in this house. My boys would probably eat nothing but bread if I let them. I make bread on demand, which usually turns out to be every Monday. I found the original recipe in the Betty Crocker cook book, and have since added and changed things to my taste. There are all kinds of ways to make a good loaf of bread. This is the way I do it.

Honey Wheat Bread - makes two 24(ish) slice loaves

2 1/4 C warm water - .00
4 1/2 tsp yeast - .18 (This is not the current price. This will be the price when I buy yeast at 6.99 for 2 lbs.)
1/3 C honey - .42
3 C whole wheat flour - .87
1/4 C butter or shortening - .24
3 Tbs brown sugar - .09
3 tsp salt - .01
3-4 C all purpose flour - .76

In a large measuring container or a bowl, mix the water, yeast and honey together. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes to get happy and frothy. I do this every time to make sure my yeast is alive. In a separate bowl mix together the whole wheat flour, butter, brown sugar and salt. I kind of mix it like I'm making biscuits, so it will be coarse crumbs. Add in the water/yeast mix and combine thoroughly. Add in the AP flour, one cup at a time, until the dough is soft and pliable, but not sticky. You want it to be a consistency that you can knead without getting it all over your hands. If you are close but it is still a bit sticky, add more flour in one Tablespoon increments until you get what you want.

Knead the dough for 10-15 minutes, until the dough is springy. I do this in my KitchenAid with the dough hook, so it takes a little less time. Maybe 8-10 minutes. Once it is well kneaded, put it in a large greased bowl and let rise until double in size. This takes anywhere from one to two hours for me, depending on the warmth in the house.

When it is done bowl-rising, press your fist into the dough to "punch it down". Turn it out and knead it a little bit more, to distribute the yeast bubbles. Just be careful not to squish it too much. Divide the dough in half, then press out each one into a large rectangle. Starting on a long end, roll the dough up into a log. Pinch the seam together then place into a greased bread pan, rolling the ends under. Rise again until doubled, or the size you would like your loaves.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes. I used to bake it longer than this, but our new gas oven gets a little over excited so I decreased the time. It will be done when the crust is golden brown and gives a hollow sound when you knock on it.

Total: 2.57

Variations: The original recipe calls for shortening rather than butter, but I like the richer flavor. I also added in the brown sugar. I think it gives it more flavor too. I have used this dough for cinnamon rolls and apple cinnamon bread. For the rolls, just brush the dough with melted butter when it is in rectangle form, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up, cut into 1 inch rolls, let rise in a baking dish, then bake for about 20-25 minutes. Glaze with whatever you like. For the apple cinnamon bread I dice up fresh apples, then mix them together with some honey and cinnamon. Spread this over the rectangle, roll up and continue in the same fashion as the regular bread.

I started making our own bread to save money. Until recently I never really considered if I was actually saving money by doing it. So I decided (before I started the blog) to figure it out. The bread I make comes out to about the same weight and slice count as the kind we bought at the store. Store bought: 3.89 per loaf. Homemade: 1.28 per loaf. I'd say we're saving money. :)

Ben Rating: 4. He said it was a little hard for him to decide since 5 is "Oh my gosh amazing", but he likes it just as well as store bought.

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