One day last June, my sister-in-law Kalyn introduced me to the world of baking homemade bread. I drove up and spent the day with her in Ardmore, Oklahoma where she lives. In between playing with Shepherd and Lydia, her two little ones, she taught me how to bake bread from scratch. One of the breads we made that day was this Honey Wheat Bread recipe from Tasty Kitchen. It’s her go-to daily bread for sandwiches, toast — you name it. I loved the bread, but life got busy and my bread-making aspirations were set aside for a few months.
Cue DFW Ice Storm 2013. With school canceled on Friday and the weather outside truly frightful, what’s a girl to do except get in the kitchen and bake? I happily tied on my apron and got to work. This honey wheat bread would be the first of seven new recipes that I would make over the long, icy weekend.
I worried slightly about the dough rising due to the chilly temperatures, but I was patient and gave the dough plenty of extra time. In the end, I need not have worried.
I would not know it until I cut into the bread later that night, but I did make one small error as I prepped the dough. I did not punch down/roll the dough enough while preparing it for the second rise, and air pockets formed in the center of the dough as a result. While the bread was still certainly edible, it made for slightly messy sandwiches at lunch the next day.
I also removed the bread from the oven at the 20-minute mark, as my oven often cooks food quickly, which I wish I had not done. The loaves sounded hollow at that point, but they really could have used a few more minutes.
Despite these slight glitches, the honey wheat bread still tasted fabulous and earned 4.5 stars. Homemade bread is by far tastier — and healthier — than a store-bought loaf of sliced bread. I know there will be many times in the months to come when I have to reach for those store-bought loaves, but I aim to decrease those times until they are all but nonexistent!
Honey Wheat Bread
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
¾ cups warm water, divided
1½ cup 2% milk
¼ cups butter, melted, plus more for brushing on baked loaves
⅓ cups honey
2 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups bread flour
1. Bloom yeast in sugar and ½ cup warm water. In a stand mixer, combine milk, remaining ¼ cup water, melted butter, honey, salt and whole wheat flour. Add yeast mixture, mix just till combined and allow to sit 15 minutes.
2. Add bread flour and once dough is combined, using a dough hook, mix 6 minutes (or 10 minutes if kneading by hand) until dough forms a smooth ball.
3. Place dough in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let rise until nearly doubled in size. (Depending upon the time of year, it can take anywhere from 45-75 minutes.)
4. Punch down dough and divide dough in 2 pieces.
5. Roll each piece of dough into a 9-inch wide rectangle, then roll rectangles into loaves. Place loaves in buttered bread loaf pans. Spray tops of loaves generously with cooking spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap (they will expand beyond the height of the pan), and let rise until nearly doubled in size. This can take 30-60 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F and bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until tops are deep golden brown. They should sound hollow when tapped.
7. Butter tops of bread loaves after removing from oven. Cool before slicing.
Yield: 2 loaves.
When each loaf is sliced into 18-20 pieces, one slice of bread equals 2 PointsPlus. When each loaf is sliced into 14-16 pieces, one slice equals 3 PointsPlus.