May 25, 2009

Quick and Easy Whole Wheat Bread

I know Whole Wheat Bread isn't the most interesting recipe to feature after a two and a half week hiatus, but I'm taking it slow...?  Truthfully though, I haven't really been on a cooking hiatus.  I've been cooking from time to time during these past few weeks, but nothing interesting or blog-worthy at that.  Mostly I've been too busy graduating, celebrating, packing, moving, unpacking, and working, well, sort of working, to do anything over here.

But, I think I'm back now.  As my summer plans (or lack thereof) begin to take shape (or unravel...) I am much less busy than I would like to be, which probably means I will try and keep myself busy by cooking.

I made this bread yesterday because I'm almost out of store-bought bread and lets face it, the homemade stuff just tastes better.  I wanted a recipe with little fuss, time commitment, and no need for a last minute trip to the store.  This recipe fit the bill.  There were no complications, no annoyances, no sticky hands and no problems.  Well, there was the minor problem that the oven in my boyfriend's apartment doesn't tell you when it's reached the desired temperature, but that's no fault of the recipe, rather a ridiculous oversight in oven design (did I mention it also has no timer and no oven light?).  However, despite oven inadequacies, this bread turned out to be a perfectly simple, slightly dense and blissfully nutty loaf just right for everyday.

Rancho La Puerta Whole Wheat Bread

Adapted from The Rancho La Puerta Cookbook: 175 Bold Vegetarian Recipes from America’s Premier Fitness Spa, via Orangette*

1/8 cup honey
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup unbleached bread flour
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
1 tsp salt**

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 3/4 cups tepid water, the honey, yeast, and oil. Stir and set aside for 5 or 6 minutes, until mixture bubbles and foams. In the meantime, spray one 8- by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

Add the flour, a cup or so at a time, and the optional salt, mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a manageable ball. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until your hands come clean when lifted from the dough and the dough is smooth and elastic. [To test if the dough is well kneaded, insert a clean thumb into the dough, and count to 5. If your thumb comes out clean, the dough is kneaded properly, and you don’t need to add any more flour.]

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Shape dough into a loaf and place in pan. Cover with dish towel, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until doubled in size.

Bake bread on the center rack of the oven for about 40 minutes, until crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

* I halved the recipe found on Orangette and used part white bread flour for a lighter, less dense bread
** original recipe calls for no salt


kf said...

You are back --- keep posting.

pvtalley said...

i missed you! (and i miss you)