Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I've been making the large majority of our bread for several months now, maybe even a year. For quite some time I was making a honey whole wheat bread out of this book. It was no knead, which I LOVED, and tasted excellent, but the texture left something to be desired.

So a couple weeks ago, I was making some french bread for panzanella (YUM), and I doubled the recipe, thinking I'd try it in a loaf pan. Though it weighed about the same as the loaves I usually make, it got ginormous. I really wish I had taken a picture because it really was ridiculous. It reminded me of MegaMind's head. (I haven't actually seen that, is it any good?). I think there was more above the pan than in it.
(Like this, only not blue)

Besides the size issue, the texture was phenomenal, but it wasn't quite sweet enough for sandwich bread (in my opinion). So I fiddled with (and multiplied) the recipe a bit, and thus was born the best bread recipe ever.

(Disclaimer: I apparently have large bread pans. Though they seem fairly standard to me, most recipes look pitiful in my pans, so you might need to adjust accordingly.)

Honey Whole Wheat
Slightly adapted from Freckles in April

4 T yeast
8 1/4 c warm water
1 c honey
4 T kosher salt
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
22-24 c white wheat flour (I use freshly ground hard white wheat. I make no promises about other flours, though I've heard good things about King Arthur Flour.)
3/4-1 c vital wheat gluten

Sprinkle the yeast in a large bowl, add the water and honey and let it stand until foamy. Add the salt and oil, then add the flour a few cups at a time. Continue adding flour until the dough comes together. Turn it out onto the counter and knead in flour until you reach a smooth consistency. Then sprinkle your gluten on the counter a quarter cup or so at a time and knead until that is fully incorporated. Continue kneading another 5-10 minutes. Then, cover the dough and let it sit for an hour, kneading it a few turns every 10 minutes or so.

After the hour is up, shape it into six loaves (weighing them to make sure they're even, if you're obsessive like me) and place in greased loaf pans (mine are 9 5/8" x 5 1/2"). Let them rise until doubled, about an hour. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, covering loosely with foil once they've reached the ideal level of brown-ness.

They slice best once they've cooled, or even better the next day, but you must try at least one slice warm slathered with butter. We generally go through one loaf the first day and then I slice, bag, and freeze the others the following day.

(So, I took step-by-step photos, but I feel lame posting them. I feel like a fake, since I'm not actually a food blogger, or anyone with real know-how. Just a girl with some wheat.)


Lisa C said...

Forget big bread pans, how big is your mixer?? I may have to try this recipe...halved, of course :)

Bethany said...

I was wondering about your mixing bowl, too! You should post those pictures just so we can see how big the bowl is that you mix everything in. Question: Do you bake all 6 loaves at once? Other question: Where's the best place to get vital wheat gluten around here. I've never made bread that required it. . . because I'm chicken when it comes to intimidating-sounding ingredients.