So I can’t say I haven’t made bread before…or specifically *this* bread before. This is my second time baking this particular bread but I have never blogged about it so here it is. Interestingly, I had the same issues both times. Nothing overly catastrophic but perhaps some of you with bread baking experience can give my some advice and/or your thoughts on the matter. I have some concerns around the flour I used and how long my dough takes to rise. You’ll find Questions to Readers below in bold and italics.
Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.
Unlike my previous post (Check out the Dribble-y Cookies post), this time I did my best to follow the recipe exactly.
I began by teasing the yeast. I gave them some food (specifically sugar) and some nice warm water; a place to call home, prompting them to get comfy before I massacred them all.
While the yeast celebrated their second chance at life, I set them aside and combined the milk, water, shortening, honey, salt and white flour in another bowl. Then, I forced the yeast to re-locate. I added them to the bowl and lightly stirred it all together. (At this point, I’m sure they thought they were in heaven!)
The recipe said to let the mixture rest for 15 minutes, which I did. I even timed the 15 minutes to be sure I was doing it *exactly*. Cue Capricorn anal-retentiveness!
When the time was up, I began adding the white flour. I only had all-purpose white flour rather than bread flour, but everything I have read suggests that it wouldn’t make much of a difference using either. Opinions?
I added it a half cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until it became too difficult, at which point I jumped in with both hands.
I found the dough quite sticky but I decided to blame the honey for that. 🙂 It remained sticky, not overly, but not quite tacky either and I went ahead and dumped it onto the counter to begin the kneading process.
Yeah, I know…it didn’t look like much at that point but I kneaded it for a good 10 minutes as required (I almost timed that but then decided to simply watch the clock) and it eventually turned into a lovely ball of dough. Dough that looked like bread dough! A very good sign!
I have to say, I really enjoy kneading dough. I find it exhilarating. It’s hard work but I know that the end result is going to be awesome. Bread I made with my own two hands; a very satisfying endeavour indeed!
Here’s where the interesting stuff begins. The recipe calls for letting the “dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled“. In my apartment, I have made bread three times. Twice I have made the bread referred to in this post, as well as plain Whole Wheat. In all cases, the time my dough has taken to rise has been excruciatingly long…much longer than the recipes call for.
I admit my apartment tends to be dry and cooler than normal…to compensate, I place my raw dough in a 100F oven, along with a small dish of water. It rises, but requires upwards of double the time. Would this be due to the whole wheat flour, as I have read this flour takes longer to rise and generally won’t double in size?
I allowed the dough to rise almost 1.5 hours instead of the 45 minutes called for. It was a pain to have to wait so long but I’m sure the partying yeast didn’t mind at all. The dough wasn’t doubled at that point, but it had risen quite a bit so I removed it from the oven, punched it down and divided it into two loaves.
The loaves required another 30 minutes of rising time. At this point, I was headed downtown to pick up a few things so I figured I could leave them for upwards of an hour since it appears double-time is the rule of thumb in my apartment. I got caught up and didn’t return home for two hours…at which point the loaves had definitely doubled their size and were ready to be baked. So, it would seem that perhaps quadruple time is what I should be aiming for!
And besides, the extra time given to the yeast to party it up and do their thing assuaged the guilt I had at knowing I was about to kill off the whole, happy population.
The loaves baked for about 30 minutes, came out a lovely golden brown and left my kitchen smelling absolutely heavenly. There’s really nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread and dead yeast!
The first time I made this bread, it turned out slightly crumbly. This time around however, I think I have much improved!
Honey Wheat Bread
Recipe taken from Allrecipes.com
- 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup melted shortening
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water.
- Combine milk, 1/4 cup water, shortening, honey, salt and wheat flour in food processor or bowl. Mix in yeast mixture, and let rest 15 minutes. Add white flour, and process until dough forms a ball. Knead dough by processing an additional 80 seconds in food processor, or mix and knead by hand 10 minutes. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.
- Punch down, and divide dough in half. Roll out each half, and pound out the bubbles. Form into loaves, and place in buttered 9×5 inch bread pans. Butter the tops of the dough, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until doubled; second rise should take about 30 minutes.
- Place a small pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. Butter crusts while warm. Slice when cool.