A simple, healthy, delicious honey wheat bread with a lovely browned crust and a soft, tender crumb. Perfect for all the BLTs and PB&Js in your life!
I have to tell you a secret.
Sometimes…I get baker’s block.
Yep, it’s a thing. With all the amazing recipes out there, created by so many kitchen whizzes, it can be frustrating and discouraging to try to come up with something new and fresh to share with you, sometimes.
I often look to the Foodie Calendar to gather inspiration to decide what to whip up to present you with on this little blog, and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.
It turns out that today is National Homemade Bread Day.
It also turns out that our house was out of bread (What?! I know, right?), so baking up this Julia Child-inspired Honey Wheat Bread was wonderfully timed!
Making bread at home was something that scared me for a long time. I think it was last year, in my first year of nesting/newlywed-ness, that I decided to try my hand at being Miss Susie Homemaker.
I bought my first jar of Fleischmann’s Yeast, got it home…
And stared at it for a little while.
Then, I left it on the counter for a few days. It stared back at me every time I walked through the kitchen.
Taunting me. Mocking me, even.
Folks, I know I work in a bakery, but it’s one thing to make hundreds of loaves of bread in an industrial-sized mixer, following a tried and true recipe and using a bag of flour mix, water, and yeast. It’s a whole different ballgame when you decide to put love and energy into one or two loaves from home.
Or, so I thought.
As it turns out, bread making really isn’t scary. After semi-failing on my first loaf of white bread (which I somehow over mixed and it turned out super crumby but amazingly still edible), I was determined to get it right. I kept experimenting, and before long, I had branched out to cinnamon-raisin bread, Ciabatta bread, and had a jar of sourdough starter fermenting in the kitchen.
I was a woman obsessed.
The phase soon passed, when I realized how much easier it was to just buy loaves of bread from the store and freeze them for quick toast and sandwiches.
In other words, I got lazy. Bread making may be easy, but it’s time-consuming!
I’m still working on getting the sourdough right, though.
My Nana used to make Julia Child’s White Bread recipe every now and again, and I happened to come across a copy of the recipe in her old, yellowed, hand-and-typewritten cookbook. I adapted it a bit, replacing the butter with oil, the sugar with honey, and subbing in half of the all-purpose flour with white wheat flour, just to see what would happen.
Slightly sweet, yummy slices of perfect white-wheat bread are what happened!
Nana’s cookbook has never failed me, and you’ll be seeing quite a bit of recipes from it in the next couple of months – I’m going to bake my way through the cookies section, as I always do at Christmas.
It’s just not Christmas without Nana’s cookies, and I’m excited to share the most precious part of my holidays with you very soon!
But for now, BREAD.
- Whisk water, oil, honey, and salt together in a large bowl (or, in the bowl of a stand mixer).
- Add ¾ cup white wheat flour and whisk for 30 seconds (this acts as a buffer so the salt doesn't kill the yeast).
- Add yeast, then whisk for another 30 seconds.
- Add the 3 cups of white wheat flour and mix in with a spoon - it will resemble a paste.
- Add the 3 cups of all-purpose flour, and let the hook do it's job for about 5 -7 minutes.
- Add the remaining flour and knead until the dough is shaggy looking and hard to stir with a spoon, and then turn it out onto a floured countertop. Knead for 6-8 minutes; with either method, the dough should be soft and elastic-like, but not sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball and let it rise to double it's size for 45-60 minutes in a clean, greased bowl covered with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap. I let mine rise on top of the oven - it helps the proofing when something is already baking!
- At the hour mark, preheat oven to 175 degrees F.
- Grease 3 loaf pans with non-stick spray or butter and set aside.
- Separate the dough in to 3 equal parts. Flatten a piece the dough out on to a large cutting board and roll the bubbles out with a rolling pin, or press them out with your hands, forming an oblong shape with the dough.
- Roll dough tightly into a loaf shape and place it in a loaf pan, tucking the ends in if necessary.
- Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
- Place loaves in oven for 30 minutes. When the dough has risen to fill and peek over the top of the pan, turn up the oven to 350 degrees F and bake another 30 minutes.
- Tap the top of the bread after 30 minutes; if it sounds hollow, it's done!
- Turn the bread on to a wire rack immediately after removing from the oven and let cool.
Have you ever made homemade bread? How did it turn out?