There’s something incredibly satisfying about making your own bread. There’s the smell when a hot loaf is pulled from the oven. There’s the knowledge of every ingredient that went into making the loaf. And then there’s the satisfaction of knowing that maybe the old ways of life aren’t lost on me—just maybe I’d be able to make it in a world without supermarkets or automobiles. In this sense, making bread isn’t merely a task or fun activity; it’s something that connects me with all the women who came before me, all the women who baked bread daily to feed their hungry families. I like that.
Last Friday my friend Michelle came over to make bread with me. Michelle hadn’t made bread before, so I wanted to introduce her to the no-knead method of bread making that I dabbled with last year here and here. We made a Honey Whole Wheat Loaf from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. Mixing the dough ingredients was so simple that we even had extra time to make these Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies. And after 50 minutes of baking, we had a soft, slightly sweet, warm loaf of bread. This bread makes great toast (how many pieces of toast have I already eaten today?!), and a little pat of butter is all that’s needed to complement the bread’s subtle scent of honey.
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Recipe adapted from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day (p 79-80)
The only unusual ingredient in this recipe—vital wheat gluten—can be found in the bulk sections of natural foods stores or in larger packages in the flour section.
3½ cups (15¾ oz.) whole wheat flour
2¼ teaspoons yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 – 1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
¼ cup honey
Equipment: 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan, lightly greased
Make the Honey Whole Wheat Bread
1. Combine the flour, yeast, salt and vital wheat gluten in a medium bowl. Stir until well mixed. Add the water and honey and stir until combined. You might need to use your hands to incorporate all the flour. Remember, you don’t need to knead with this recipe.
2. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours or until it rises and flattens on top. You can either use the dough immediately or cover it loosely and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.
3. When you are ready to bake the bread, dust your hands with flour, pull the dough from the bowl and quickly shape it into an oblong loaf shape. Plop it into your loaf pan and allow to rest for 40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough (90 minutes for refrigerated dough).
4. 10-15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350°F. When the bread has finished resting, slash the loaf with several parallel cuts and paint the top with water. Bake the bread for 50 to 60 minutes or until well-browned and it makes a hollow sound when you knock the loaf with your knuckles. Remove the loaf from the pan and allow it to cool on a rack before slicing. It’s very tempting to dig right in, but waiting will provide the best flavor and texture.