Last night our flat was filled with the wafting scent of bread—honey, wheat bread specifically. My Midnight Man was prowling and behaving like a small child on seemingly long road trip. “Are we there yet?... Is the bread baked yet?...What do you mean you just turned on the oven?...” That lovely smell of sweet nuttiness and yeast was tantalising, I must confess. The stronger the scent became, the more I wanted coffee to go with it.
I once heard that if an estate agent (real estate agent) is having a difficult time selling a house, they will often tell the sellers to put on a pot of coffee and make some bread. Much easier these days with bread machines. Those two smells—bread and coffee—evoke strong feelings of comfort and home.
When our last loaf of store-bought bread finished, I said to M. Midnight Man “I’ll make some bread.” Then I made American Baking Soda biscuits instead. Those lasted one day.... Monday got by, no bread. Yesterday I thought, “Soda bread is fast, easy and made without yeast. I’ll do some of that.” However, once I got to the kitchen, I changed my mind; I wanted to make yeast bread. I was looking for my Granny’s fast bread recipe, but found this Honey Wheat bread instead.
I have a beautiful Kitchen Aid mixer that I truly enjoy using. It makes stirring up cookies, cakes and meringues simple and fast. I’d never used it to make yeast bread before. It was time to try it.
Now a lot of bread recipes say to add the water to the flour. I, on the other hand find it easier to slowly add the flour into the water. I find it mixes in better, taking on a cake-like texture to begin with, then slowly stiffening as I work in the flour. I don’t like the feel of trying to work water into flour, as it feels like I’m making flour paste—which has a texture like wallpaper paste. Cooking really is about finding personal preferences and approaches to get the desires result.
The recipe I used is one my Mom cut out from a flyer that came in with the gas bill. It’s called
Whole Wheat Batter bread.
4 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
4 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast (about 2-3 Tablespoons dry yeast)
2 Tablespoons softened butter (I substituted cooking oil for the butter.)
2 Cups warm water (120°-130°F)
1) Mix 1 ½ cups white flour, honey, salt and yeast in a large bowl; add butter and water.
2) Beat two minutes at medium speed.
3) Add eggs and ½ cup white flour. Beat two minutes at high speed.
4) Stir in whole wheat flour to make a soft dough.
5) Cover, let rise until double.
6) Stir down and turn into two well-greased 1 ½ quart casseroles.
7) Cover, let rise until double.
8) Bake in 375°F oven 35 minutes or until done.
Having read the instructions I did a few things differently.
1) Pour 1/3 cup of boiling water into glass measuring jug.
2) Add the honey until well dissolved into water.
3) Add butter and stir till melted.
4) Pour in 1 2/3 cup cool water into measuring jug.
5) Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl.
6) Add in yeast and stir well.
7) Slowly start adding flour, white first, then whole meal.
8) Let rise.
The bread came out of the oven about 9:35 pm. I waited until My Midnight Man had been out of the shower a few minutes before announcing that for which he waited was finished. It was cool enough to cut and eat.
I’d checked that the bread sounded hollow when thumped on the bottom, the indication it was done. Yet, the inside was sticky. The texture of the bread showed it was indeed done, and the bread didn’t sink in the middle, as will happen when the bread hasn’t baked through. The bread toasts very nicely, because the honey causes more caramelization than the simple starch in the bread. So, now for some lovely toast with our eggs and baked beans for breakfast!