There is great danger in baking my own bread. Namely, that I will eat an entire loaf of bread. No matter how great a loaf I can get at the numerous fantastic bakeries in this city, for some reason even the simplest loaf baked at home will beat it. I guess there is just no comparing a loaf of bread straight out the oven, even to a loaf baked mere hours before.
This honey wheat loaf is bread baking at it's most basic and simple, and makes me wonder why I ever thought that baking bread was remotely complicated. The only issue that I had was my loaf pan. For some freakish reason, I have a 9.5" loaf pan, and most recipes I've come across are for 8" loaf pans. So I always end up with bread that looks a little flat and depressing, even if it rises very well. I know it doesn't really make a difference, but I think I have to get an 8" pan to satisfy my cooking OCD. Recipe after the jump:
HONEY WHEAT BREAD
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110F)
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup bread flour (if you don't have bread flour, AP is fine)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp salt
In a large bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy. Stir in melted butter, flours, and salt. You may need to add as much as 1/2 cup additional flour if your dough is too sticky, otherwise stir until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth ball, about 2 minutes. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, 1-1 1/2 hours.
Remove dough again to a lightly floured surface. Gently deflate dough. Press the dough into a large rectangle, then fold over in thirds like a letter. Starting at one of the open ends (not a crease end), roll the dough into a cylinder and use the side of your palm to seal the edges. Place seam-side down in a greased loaf pan, cover with the kitchen towel, and let dough rise until doubled, 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.
Bake for 25 minutes at 400F, until the bottom sounds hollow when tapped.
Let loaf cool before slicing. Makes one loaf.