Like most children, I loved fluffy white sandwich bread growing up. I also loved my Mom's homemade bread, but there was a time for each. Now I can't stand the stuff that you buy in the bread isle at the grocery store. That is not bread. That is a conglomeration of chemicals and factory processing that just doesn't do it for me. What I really love are artisan breads - breads made with 3 or 4 ingredients, with a nice crusty exterior and a nice chewy interior that just needs a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt.
That kind of bread is a real treat, but it doesn't serve much purpose when it comes to making sandwiches and toast, especially for the kiddos. My toddler likes PB&J for breakfast. So when I make most of my bread, I like to get a lighter texture and a soft crust. I also want it to be nutritious - so it is mostly whole grain. Trying to make bread completely whole grain is absolutely possible, but I can't get that sandwich bread texture just right. One of my favorite snacks is just a slice of this bread with butter. It has good flavor but isn't too heavy, and it can still hold up a sandwich - without overpowering the sandwich by being thick and heavy.
I think the key to this bread is that the recipe, which uses a whole packet of yeast, only makes one loaf. Generally I would say most recipes use a packet of yeast for 2 loaves, but because this bread has a lot of whole wheat in it, I like that it gets that extra rise from the yeast. This wasn't perfect by any means, but it is one of my best loaves of bread so far.
When I make bread, I always proof my yeast in the warm water. If the water feels warm to my wrist, it is about right. I don't want it to be hot.
|This is what my dough looks like. It is coming away from the bowl, but it is still pretty moist. I think a moister bread rises better than a drier dough|
|Doubled in size!|
|Second Rise in the loaf pan|
|The finished loaf. It slices pretty well, but is a little crumbly. I'm not sure how to remedy that yet.|
3 -3 1/2 cups flour - I used 2 cups whole wheat and 1 cup white. You may end up using a little more - the 3 cups wasn't nearly enough so I think I used more like 3 1/2 to get the dough to form a ball.
2/3 cup warm water (115-120 degrees)
1 packet active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 stick melted butter
2 T honey
1 1/4 tsp. salt
Measure out warm water in a glass measuring cup. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Combine 3 cups of flour with the salt in your mixer fitted with the dough hook. Once yeast if proofed (it should look a little fizzy) add in the warm milk, butter, and honey and let it sit a couple more minutes. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and set the machine on low. Add flour as necessary to get a pretty wet ball and then let it knead for about 5 minutes. Oil the bowl and dough and cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour. Punch down, and put into a greased loaf pan. Set oven to 350 and let the dough rise for another half hour or so. Then back for 35-40 minutes or until it is nice and brown and sounds hollow when you tap it. Let cool before slicing.