Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Honey Wheat Bread Success Story!!

After a not so great attempt at bread making a few weekends ago I decided today's snow day was the perfect time to try again!

With a bit of googling different recipes online I finally settled with this one.  Thanks to some prodding from my mom and some great tips from a co-worker I was feeling confident that I could master this classic but finiky recipe.  I am thankful to say that this wonderful slice was my reward!!!
Crusty on the outside and just crumbly & sweet enough on the inside!

My biggest fear was "waking up" the yeast.  Tired or dead yeast means that your bread will not rise or become light and fluffy when baking.  As you can see below with the help of warm water and some local lavender honey my yeast was awake, active and bubbly!!!  Huzzah!!!!

Happy dancing yeast feeding on honey!

 I added my yeast "slurry" to salt, wheat germ, butter and whole what flour.  The mixture becomes a very wet dough.

Next I added the all purpose flour 1/2cup at a time until fully incorporated. (I also switched from a mixer attachment to a dough hook attachment to help with the kneading of the dough.

Once fully combined knead dough on counter top for about 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic-y. I actually think that is my favorite part.  You get a bit of a workout and its a few moments to zone out.  Just you and the dough (very zen like).

From here, place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean dish cloth.  Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. ( I placed mine on top our radiator (w/ a cutting board inbetween)).

Once the dough has risen take it out of the bowl and punch it down.  Separate into 2 loaves and place in greased loaf pans (try to be more exact than me... mine looked like Danny DeVito & Arnold Schwarzenegger!)  Let these rise in the pans another 45 minutes.

 Preheat oven to 375' and bake for 35 minutes.  I added a small pan of water in the oven (not in recipe) to help steam the bread and prevent from cracking
Be patient... its almost ready......

 Brush w/ melted butter when its right out of the oven and FORCE yourself to let the loaves cool at least 10 minutes before hacking into these beauties butter knife first!
What you end up with is a delicious loaf of bread that is not too sweet with the right amount of crusty crust!

This frightful baking foodie could not be more proud of myself today!  Are there still areas for improvement. Of course, but for the price, taste and quality I would say today's adventure was a complete success!  I think I may have become a weekly baker!  Watch out KingArthur!  You have a new regular!!

What are you baking, cooking up or ordering in on this icy New England day?