Bread making is a completely rewarding way to pass a long winter afternoon. Kneading dough on a floured board feels natural and intuitive; as the dough rests, there’s plenty of time to savor a warm beverage or pore over a new cooking magazine. If you’ve never made bread, don’t be intimidated – this honey whole-wheat loaf is straightforward and an ideal everyday bread for both sweet and savory preparations. I used it as a base for a panini with pear, smoked Gouda, and caramelized balsamic onions; toasted slices are equally good spread with peanut butter and strawberry jam.
Honey Whole-Wheat Bread
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 3/4 cups warm water, 100 to 110 degrees
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1 packet active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups bread flour, divided, plus more for dusting
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp salt
Combine warm water, honey, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup; stir until dissolved and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Whisk together 1 3/4 cups bread flour, whole-wheat flour, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the yeast mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon, gradually incorporating the flour until combined.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; wipe bowl clean and coat with nonstick spray. Knead (fold, push out, and turn the dough) in the remaining 1/2 cup bread flour a little at a time until dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 to 15 minutes). If dough sticks to board or counter, use a bench scraper to pick it up and incorporate it back into the loaf. Place dough back into bowl; spray plastic wrap with nonstick spray and cover dough. Let rise in warm place until double in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
To check if dough has doubled, lightly flour two fingers and press them down into center of dough. If indentations remain, turn dough back out onto floured surface; spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray. Dust dough lightly with flour and gently press down to flatten it, patting it into a rectangle. Fold length of dough into thirds, then flip over and tuck in sides. Drop seam-side down into prepared pan, with the ends of loaf touching the ends of pan. Cover with plastic and let rise in warm place until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake until deep golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. To check for doneness, carefully flip bread out of pan and insert an instant-read thermometer into the bottom; bread is done when temperature reaches 190 to 200 degrees and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If bread is only at 180 degrees, put it back in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, then check temperature again. Cool baked loaf completely on a rack before slicing. Store up to 2 days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage and toast slices as needed.
Yield – 1 loaf, 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
Calories – 106
Carbs – 22