When I was young, my father owned a bakery. We actually lived in the apartment up above, so I would go to school smelling like wonderful baked goods. Of course, I was oblivious to the “bakery” smell back then, but now it brings back all sorts of great memories. I have found that one really good way to make the house smell terrific (besides giving the dogs away) is to bake my own bread.
Working with yeast used to scare me to death. Then, back in the late eighties, someone invented the bread machine! My older sister made sure I had the first model. It was expensive back then, I think around $300, and it made just a small loaf, but how cool to make my own bread?!! Unfortunately, I tired of bread machine bread very quickly. The bread had weird, chemical smell to it and always had a hole on the bottom. It was time to really make my own bread.
I have to admit, it took a little practice. And, though I have made bread by kneading it myself (I’ve also made the no-knead bread, but that’s another blog lol), I have found that my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment makes bread making a breeze. So here is my easy recipe:
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
1 cup warm water (bathwater warm)
2 tablespoons oil (I usually use olive oil)
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
1 beaten egg
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast (1 package)
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt (add this last because it inhibits yeast growth)
Add the water, oil, honey and egg to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast and let the mixture sit for about five minutes or until it starts foaming. This is called proofing and it ensures that your yeast is fresh and working.
Next add the flour and the salt. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and knead the flour mixture for about five minutes. The dough should “clean” the sides of the bowl. If it is too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time.
Now, put a bit of oil onto the bottom of a clean bowl and place the dough on top of it. Turn the dough around, so it has a little oil on top, cover the bowl with a clean towel, and put the bowl in a nice warm area of the kitchen. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour, or until it is double in size.
Punch the dough down, shape it into a loaf, and place it in a greased loaf pan. Let it rise again, until it just comes over the top of the pan. While the dough is doing its last rise, preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until nicely brown. The bread should have a “hollow” sound to it if you tap it.
Finally, make a nice grilled cheese sandwich with pepper/jack cheese.
Happy bread baking!