Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fabulous Wheat Bread Recipe

Two events came together in my little world that resulted in this wonderful bread recipe. First of all, yesterday I canned 46 pounds of albacore tuna, so of course I wanted to have a tuna sandwich for lunch today. But I had no bread. What to do? I could run to the store and buy a loaf, which I do when I'm busy, but the thought of home-canned tuna on homemade bread wouldn't be dislodged from my mind, so this morning early I set about making bread.

I ground up some hard white wheat berries and got a quart of wheat flour, which I figured would be plenty for a single loaf. I also decided that I wanted to throw in some of my powdered buttermilk (I've set myself to the task of finding ways to use powdered buttermilk because it's so handy to have around.). I wasn't planning on making anything complex--just your average loaf of good tasting bread.

But of course, it didn't turn out as I planned, and it's all my fault. (I really need to stop daydreaming while I'm cooking!) Suffice to say that I added way too much yeast (enough for 2-3 loaves, rather than 1!) in the proofing batter. Further, I'm a frugal person, so I couldn't conscience throwing out a perfectly good bowl of bread starter. So I changed plans midstream.

To wit:

Honey Buttermilk Wheat Bread (makes 3 loaves)

1 1/4 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/3 cup honey
6-8 T. melted butter
8 T. buttermilk powder
2 cups water
1 T. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
4 cups wheat flour
4 cups+- regular flour

Grease or butter one large mixing bowl; set aside for now.

In another large mixing bowl, mix together the 1 1/4 cups warm water, yeast, and honey. Let set for about 10 minutes or until the mixture starts to bubble and froth.

Add remainder of ingredients except the regular flour. Mix together with a large wooden spoon. When well mixed, begin to add the regular flour, about a cup at a time and then mix well after each addition. When the dough pulls away from the mixing bowl and forms a loose ball, dump dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding small amounts of flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick on your counter or bread board. Form into a ball and place in the greased mixing bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

When ready to proceed, grease 3 loaf pans and set aside. Form the dough into 3 loaves and place them in the prepared loaf pans. Cover with the clean towel and let them rise until about doubled. (The loaves will be about 1-2 inches above the top of the pan at their highest peak.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake bread for 25 minutes or until done. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.

I have a weakness for fresh baked bread so I did what I usually do--and what the "experts" say you should never do. I cut into one of the loaves minutes after pulling them from the oven so I could slather butter onto a thick heel slice. Heaven!

This is a good recipe--perfect as sandwich bread or toast. The texture is soft and small crumbed (no doubt from the egg and all that butter!), and when completely cooled down you can cut lovely, thin slices if that's your druthers. The only thing that niggles is that it's not the cheapest bread recipe to make, but it still beats the price I would pay for 3 loaves of organic wheat bread at the store. And the freshness and taste can't be improved upon.

Lunchtime, please get here quick. I've got tuna fish sandwiches on the brain!

Hope all is well in your part of the universe. Blessings to you and yours!


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