Finally a new post! I was busier than expected for most of February and though this sounds like it might be a good excuse for not posting in three weeks, I admit to have fallen victim to the is-it-spring-yet lack of motivation. There are many great winter recipes throughout my grandmother’s books but surprisingly, this simple whole wheat sandwich bread is what pulled me out of my slump. It’s hard to beat warm fresh bread and butter, even in it’s most basic form.
I’m far from an expert but I’ve played around enough with bread to know that whole wheat breads are more difficult than white breads. They often don’t rise as well, or they come out dense due to the lack of gluten. Even those with only 50% whole wheat flour can be tricky. This is why I am so impressed with this recipe. Rising/proofing was not a problem and the bread came out fluffy and not crumbly (also a potential issue with homemade sandwich bread).
I like to think of this bread and butter combination as a joint effort. This whole wheat bread recipe comes from my grandmother’s book,”The Art of Fine Baking.” While the Honey Nut Cinnamon Butter is my own recipe. I figured they would go nicely together but was surprised by such a perfect match. The bread, though rich with flavor from the whole wheat flour and a bit of molasses, is not sweet. It’s complimented by the nutty honey butter that adds both texture and that missing touch of sweetness. With such a killer combination, it’s hard not to eat half a loaf right from the oven – but that’s ok because the whole wheat flour makes it healthy, right? Let’s just pretend…
4 packages of dry yeast
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons dark molasses
2 1/4 cups lukewarm milk or water
3-4 cups all purpose flour
3-4 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 recipe Honey Nut Cinnamon Butter
Grease two 9x5x3 loaf pans.
Combine yeast with salt, sugar, molasses, and milk. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Add soft butter. Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until dough is smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes.
Place dough in bowl. Flour lightly. Cover and let rise in a draft free place until it has doubled in bulk (30-45 minutes). Punch down dough and knead briefly to remove all air. Divide mixture in half. Mold dough into two compact loaves which are higher and rounder in the centers. Place in greased pans, filling them 2/3 full. Cover and let rise until dough reaches tops of pans.
While dough is rising for the second time, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake on lowest rack in oven 30-40 minutes or until loaves are golden brown. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on rack.
Makes 2 Loaves
Adapted from the “The Art of Fine Baking,” by Paula Peck.