04 May 2009

Honey Whole-Wheat Bread

Honey Whole-Wheat Bread
Adapted fromWilliams Sonoma Essentials of Baking

5 tsp active dry yeast
2 cups warm milk
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
6 cups whole-wheat flour, plus more for dusting (I used white whole-wheat)
2 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cubed

In the 5 qt bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Using a wire whisk, stir in the honey and eggs. Add the flour, salt, and butter. Place the bowl on the mixer, and using the dough hook, knead on low speed. Add a little more flour as needed for the dough to come away from the sides of the bowl after a few minutes of kneading. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5-7 minutes.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2-2 hours.

Punch down the dough and put on clean work surface. Cut in half using a bench scraper. For each half, evenly flatten the dough with the heel of your hand. Roll the bottom third up onto itself and seal it by pushing gently with the heel of your hand. Continue rolling and sealing the dough until you have an oval log. Place the log, seam side down, in buttered loaf pans. Press on them to flatten them evenly in the pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the loaves rise until they are doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Dust the tops of the loaves with whole-wheat flour. Bake in a 375 degree oven until they are honey brown and sound hollow when tapped on top, 35-40 minutes. Carefully remove the loaves from the pans and let cool completely on wire racks before slicing.