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Friday, February 13, 2009
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
(very loosely adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Essentials of Baking)
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry (NOT instant or quick-rise) yeast 2 cups whole milk, heated to bloodwarm 1/4 cup mild honey (or more or less to taste -- this makes a very mildly sweet loaf)
2 large eggs 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt 1/2 cup rolled oats 4 cups whole wheat flour 1 1/2 - 2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
Dissolve yeast and honey in milk and let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes. Whisk in eggs, salt, and rolled oats. Stir in whole wheat flour and 1 cup AP flour. Add AP flour until mixture forms a shaggy ball. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes, adding only enough AP flour to prevent sticking.
Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Grease two 9 x 5 loaf pans (I prefer glass -- better browning!).
Gently deflate the dough and cut into halves. Press each half into a rectangle about 12" wide by 18" long. Fold the bottom fourth of the dough up, pinching to seal. Continue folding and sealing. Tuck the ends under and pinch to seal. Place loaf seam side down in one pan. Repeat with other half of dough.
Cover loosely with a towel and let the loaves rise until the top of the dough is about 2 inches above the rim of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375.
Bake loaves 35-40 minutes or until evenly browned and hollow-sounding when tapped. Do not overbake! Allow to cool as completely as you can bear before slicing. Delicious toasted.