Thursday, September 10, 2009

Daily Bread

At our house, fresh bread is a favorite snack and a part of many of our meals. The kids fight over the heel of every loaf, usually asking me to cut off both ends at once. This bread was adapted from an interesting recipe I found on another blog, as soon as I read it I knew that it would be a good one. I love that is uses honey for sweetener, we are trying to reduce refined sugar and replace it when possible so I am always on the lookout for recipes using honey. One change I made was to cut the honey and butter in half from the original recipe, it's so delicious you will never miss the extra sweetness and fat. Also if you reduce the butter you can spread lots of butter on your slice of warm soft bread. So here we go.
Soft Wheat Bread
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast (one packet of yeast)
2 Tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached flour
2 Tablespoons softened butter
1 teaspoon salt

Pour the water in a large bowl. Ideally you want the water to be as warm as a baby's bottle but the temperature of the warm really isn't too critical. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and pour in the honey. Most bread recipes tell you to proof the yeast in a small amount of water until the yeast is foamy but I have found this to be unnecessary unless you aren't sure that your yeast is good. As long as your yeast has been stored at room temperature or in the fridge, it should be good. Adding the yeast to the water before you mix in the flour will work just fine.
Add the flours, butter and salt and stir to make a rough dough. Turn this out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and springy. Put the ball of dough in a large bowl and cover with a clean towel. Set the bowl in a warm place to rise for about an hour. I usually set my bread to rise in my oven with the light turned on. When the dough is doubled in size turn it out onto a floured surface and shape into a loaf and place it in a buttered loaf pan. Cover with the towel and let rise again. This rise will take 45 minutes to an hour. During this rise heat your oven to 350 degrees. Obviously you can't do this rise in the oven but it should rise just fine on the countertop. When it's risen an inch or so above the top of the pan put it in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until it's golden brown. Lately I have been experimenting with taking the bread out as soon as it starts to really brown and it has made a huge difference in how long the bread stays soft. All these years my bread has dried out because I was baking it too long but let's just keep that between you and me. And remember, let the bread cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing it, I know it's torture but you can do it!
Oh and if you have a sweet friend who brings you a jar of strawberry jam she made from berries picked by her own hands in the farmer's field then you can swoon and count yourself blessed indeed!

1 comment:

RedMama said...

I finally found your blog...again. I must say it is quite intruiging and I find that I am the blessed one:))