Breaking bread

Since first attempting homemade bread last year, I’ve gotten pretty good at focaccia and pizza dough, but the plain, light sandwich loaf remained elusive. Over and over, out from the oven came tasty but dense and crumbly variations on a theme. More kneading, less kneading, more flour, less flour, hydrating the yeast. You name it, I’ve tried it.

Refusing surrender, I turned to the internets this weekend. Most recipes for whole wheat bread use a fair amount of processed white flour — an endangered species in our pantry thanks to the grain CSA — but this one from the blog “100 Days of Real Food” sounded promising.

Only one problem. It was designed for a bread machine, and this is the closest thing to a bread machine you’ll find in the wee homestead.

So using her ingredients but the technique from Yvette van Boven’s wondrous cookbook Home Made, I gave it another shot. Basically mix everything but the honey together, knead for 10 minutes, and cover with plastic wrap for an hour. Add the honey, punch down the dough, form into a loaf, and allow to rise another 30 minutes in a greased bread pan. Score with a knife — at this point, I like to drizzle more honey into the opening — then bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Result? The best sandwich bread yet, even by hubby’s taste test. It’s still a little heavy, but definitely usable. I’ll continue experimenting with the fluffiness factor and report back.

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