Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Honey Wheat Bread ...that was almost a disaster.

 Disclaimer: the following "paragraph" is a mix of writings and ramblings that I was having/doing while making this bread.  I usually go through and form it all into something cohesive when I'm ready to share it.  But I think that it pretty much summed up the roller coaster ride that this bread took me on...so I left it.  I hope you can decipher my mess.

This was doomed to fail before I even began. And basically, I knew it. Do you ever do that? I knew many things about this recipe were a bad idea...but I went for it anyway. First off, it was made in a food processor. I mean, it gave a "by hand" option, but I thought..."why not...what could go wrong?" Ha! I did make a bread in the past that worked in the food processor...but they were pitas and it wasn't as much dough. My food processor is an 8-cup capacity...nothing fancy, just Hamilton Beach. I should have listened to that nagging little feeling in my gut and done this by hand or in a mixer...because while my processor wasn't anything fancy...now I have NO FOOD PROCESSOR AT ALL! This dough killed it. It sputtered and let out one last tired puff of smoke (that I told myself was flour when it was happening)...and then there was nothing. And the dough was still a bit, wet, sticky mess. So I turned it out onto the counter and eventually kneaded it into submission by adding a bit more flour at a time and scraped with my bench press. However, once this was all over, I realized that in the midst of everything, I never added the salt. Well shit. Too late now. Right? I don't know...doesn't seem like it'd mix correctly if I tried adding it after it had already had its first rise. So, I continued...just to see what would happen. After the first rise, it actually felt pretty silky and divided well...had bubbles to push out, so that's a good thing. Divided and put into two pans and brushed tops with butter. Rose well in the pans...yay!! Oi. The battery on my camera is dead. I didn't try to use it until after the loaves rose (very nicely) in the pans...thought I'd show it off. So, currently charging and I'll only have photos of the final loaves. What a day. Oh yeah, I also forgot to put a pan of water in the oven...so no steam. Okay, I've concluded that this is why I don't start things at dinnertime when there's a million other things going on --> Sunday night stuff...like showers, last-minute backpack checks, laundry, rain (um, can we say photo-hamper-er?).

So, in the end...two good loaves of bread and one dead food processor. All in all one crazy...but fairly successful...venture. Although, next time I go to use my food processor I'm gonna be pissed.  Can anyone recommend a good (fairly inexpensive) model?  

The bread itself is incredibly soft and tender and lightly sweet from the honey.
Honey Wheat Bread
adapted from Allrecipes
yield: 2 loaves

1 (.25 oz.) package rapid rise yeast
1 tsp.sugar
½ c. warm water (110° F/45° C)
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1 (12 fl oz) can evaporated milk
¼ c. water
¼ c. butter, melted
¼ c. honey
2 tsp. salt
2 c. whole wheat flour
3 c. bread flour + more as needed
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2 Tbs. butter, melted

Dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ c. warm water.

Combine milk, ¼ cup water, shortening, honey, salt and wheat flour in food processor* bowl. Pour in yeast mixture to combine, then let rest 15 minutes. Add bread flour, and process mix/stir until dough forms a ball. Knead dough by processing an additional minute and a half.   Turn out and knead, adding flour as necessary until the dough is no longer sticky and feels pliable and smooth.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled in size, ~45 minutes.

Punch down, and divide dough in half. Roll out each half, pushing out the bubbles with your fingertips. Form into loaves, and place into buttered bread pans. Lightly brush a bit of the melted butter across the top of the dough, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until doubled, ~30-45 minutes. During last 15 minutes of preheating time, place a small pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 375° F (190° C).

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. Remove from oven and brush remaining butter immediately over the top crust. Tip out when you are able to and finish cooling on wire rack. Slice once cooled.
*I cannot reiterate enough how much I recommend doing this by hand or in the mixer and NOT the food processor.  Unless, of course, you have an industrial or heavy-duty processor.  Then by all means...process away.
*In answer to what type of knife I use for slicing my bread, I use a knife I've had for years (I started using it when I was working in restaurants and food service)...a Dexter-Russell Offset Scalloped Sandwich Knife.
Sani-Safe Commercial Cutlery, Sandwich Knife, Offset 9"

*This is the Artisan Bread Bakers Bread of the Month for May.
*Yeastspotting!
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