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Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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Makes 2 loaves.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a gifted recipe.

This recipe came from a fan of my web site. She said, “You can’t have enough bread recipes.” I agree. This bread has a small percentage of whole wheat flour, making it lighter than many whole wheat breads, and the addition of honey gives it a slightly sweet taste. It’s delicious toasted.

Ingredients:

½ cup (118ml) plus 2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon active dry (or instant) yeast
Pinch of sugar
4 cups (20 ounces/567g) unbleached bread flour, plus up to ½ cup (71g) flour if needed
1 12-ounce (355ml) bottle of lager beer, or 1½ cups (355ml) water
¼ cup (3 ounces/85g) honey
1 large egg, at room temperature
12/3 cups (8 ounces/227g) whole wheat flour
2¼ teaspoons salt (1 tablespoon if using clarified or unsalted butter)
½ cup (4 ounces/113g) butter (clarified or unsalted okay), at room temperature
Optional: 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water for an egg wash

Directions:

Heat ½ cup (237ml) of water to about 110°F (43°C). Add the yeast and the pinch of sugar. Mix well and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to proof the yeast. It should start to form a light foam if good.

Place half the bread flour in the bowl of a stand mixer (you can mix this bread by hand). Pour the beer (or water) and honey into a small pan and heat to about 110°F (43°C), stirring to blend in the honey.

Add the proofed yeast, the beer/honey mixture, and the egg to the flour in the mixer bowl and mix well. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer and attach the dough hook. With the mixer running at low speed, add the remaining four, about ¼ cup at a time, and work into the batter/dough until all the flour is incorporated. Add the whole wheat flour, with the salt, the same way, until incorporated.

Knead with the dough hook about 10 minutes. Then cut into the dough with a knife and add a portion of the butter, enclosing the dough over it. Continue to knead. The dough will break up because of the butter, but it will come back together again as it continues to knead. Add more butter the same way, and knead again, until all the butter is used. At the end of the kneading the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, but still stick in the bottom of the bowl. If too moist, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time, kneading until incorporated, as necessary to achieve the correct consistency. The dough should be slightly sticky.

Place the dough in a large greased bowl, turn to coat all the surface with fat, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. To develop the flavor, the dough can be punched down and let rise a second time, or it can the left to rise overnight inside the refrigerator.

Gently remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half, and shape into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans, cover, and let rise until doubled, 45 to 90 minutes, or longer if necessary.

Near the end of the rising time, heat the oven to 375°F (191°C). Optional: Before placing the loaves in the oven, combine the egg and water to make an egg wash and brush onto the loaves. Slit the top of each loaf to provide an expansion vent for the first stage of baking.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or to an internal temperature near 200°F (93°C). Remove from the pans and cool thoroughly on a rack before slicing.