Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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I’ve always liked homemade breads. I’m not very good at baking breads, but I try my hands on it whenever I can. My sister had come to ask me to bake her a whole wheat bread as she prefers it over white bread. Sure, you can easily buy whole wheat bread at any stores, but she (and me included) prefers homemade rather than store bought. I’ve never made a “successful” bread loaf before, but I thought I might as well try.

This bread is 100% whole wheat flour. I was contemplating of adding white flour into the mixture, but thought against it. If I’m baking whole wheat bread, might as well make it 100% whole wheat. Instead of sugar, I chose honey as a sweetener which matches really well with wheat-y flavor of the bread.

This recipe has only 6 ingredients. Six!! I compared it to the ones I found at the grocery store, and I was surprised to see the list of ingredients for one whole wheat loaf bread. There are just many! That just makes me more determined to  harness my breadmaking skills.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup oil (vegetable/canola/ coconut)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • about 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

First off, heat the milk in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes. It has to be really hot in order for the enzymes found in the milk to be destroyed. This enzymes, I believe, prevent the gluten to strengthen, and may cause for the bread to collapse. I’ve learned this the hard, hard way, so I make sure to do this step all the time. Let the milk come to room temperature before using; otherwise, it may kill the yeast.

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Into the warm milk, add 1/4 cup oil (I used coconut oil), and 1/4 cup honey. Stir.

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In a huge mixing bowl, whisk yeast, salt and flour. The amount of the flour is merely an estimate as you might have to adjust it depending on a lot of factors, such as humidity. I started with 3 cups of flour then adjust it from there. You want the dough to still be a little wet and tacky.

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Mix the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. I used a KitchenAid mixer to do the work for me, but you can certainly do this by hand. PSX_20180307_222611

Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes.

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Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a well-oiled bowl. I just used that same mixing bowl and spread oil around it while I shaped the dough. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it sit for about 1-2 hours or until it has risen. Mine took about 2 hours before I could see a significant rise.

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I know it doesn’t look like it in this picture, but it did rise, I swear!

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Grab your loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper (this helps me a lot to prevent burning the bottom of the bread). Shape the dough into a log, as smooth and even as you could make it (unlike mine). My loaf pan, I realized, is much bigger than usual, so I had my doubts whether I could get the whole loaf pan covered with the dough. But I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap.

Let it rise until it has doubled (or tripled) in size. Mine took forever to rise. I checked it after 2 hours, and it barely rose. I lightly pressed a finger into the dough, and it still felt dense, not airy and light as I would prefer it to be. I was thinking that it’s because it’s cold and raining on  the day that I made this, so it’s struggling to rise. Whole wheat breads tends to rise very slowly compared to bread made with regular white flour. Whole wheat contains more grains as opposed to white flours, so it tends to be heavier. After 3 hours, I truly almost gave up. I keep thinking that I did something wrong and this bread was a total failure. I finally gave up after another hour and went to sleep (I started making this around 5pm).

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I woke up at 4 am~ish, and checked this loaf, and see what I found! It’s risen beautifully, and fully covered the whole loaf pan. I lightly pressed my finger into the dough, and it felt airy and light, and I knew that it’s just a perfect rise.

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So, once the dough has risen this much and felt light to touch, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the bread for about 40 minutes or until the top has browned and the inside temperature has reached 190 degrees F.

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Immediately after you take it out of the oven, brush or rub it with butter to give its top a shiny and glossy finish. If you’re feeling really up to it, you can mix honey and melted butter in a bowl, then brush the honey butter on top, for an added honey flavor.

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I had despaired that this whole wheat loaf would be a failure. But lo and behold, it came out perfect! It’s not dense and dry, or even crumbly. It has a great flavor and texture, and tastes really good, especially right out of the oven! Spread it with honey butter, and it’s the perfect breakfast right there. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my sister adores this bread!

Considering how long it took for it to rise, will I still want to make this bread at home? Of course! Next time I make it, I plan to do the same timing. I’ll make it the night before, let it have its first rise, then shape into a log and let it sit and rise in the loaf pan covered with plastic and placed it in the fridge. Placing in the fridge will help to somehow prevent the loaf from over-rising, which could happen on warm days (or nights). The next morning, all I have to do is let it sit at room temperature for about half an hour, then bake the loaf in the preheated oven, and there you go!

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