Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Life-Altering Bread!

Okay, maybe it's not that dramatic, but I just made this bread last night, and the following recipe really changed the way I think about homemade bread. Of course, I love homemade bread, but after a day or two, it starts to get dry and crumbly, and that makes it hard to compete with soft-for-weeks store-bought bread. Believe me, I try to fight those thoughts, but they come unbidden!

Well, this bread had such an amazing, fine crumb, and is so soft... I can cut it and the slice doesn't fall apart. It's beautiful!! Try this bread out. I think the secret is the egg.

Rich Honey Egg Bread

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups (or more) of unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp. of salt
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (1 packet)
3/4 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp. oil
1 large egg
Butter, if desired

1. Mix the whole wheat flour, the salt and yeast in a large bowl. Add the honey to the warm water and stir until mostly dissolved. Add the water/honey mixture to the bowl with the flour. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Add egg; beat until smooth. Mix in the all-purpose flour and more, if needed, to make dough easy to handle.

2. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy. Place dough in a large, greased bowl, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.

3. Grease bottom and sides of a regular-sized bread loaf pan. Gently push fist into dough to deflate and knead a couple strokes. Pull dough into a tight log shape and place in the loaf pan. Cover loosely and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until double.

4. Move oven rack to low position so that top of pan will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 375º. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190º and crust is a deep golden brown. Remove from pan to wire rack and brush loaf with butter; cool. AND EAT! Mmmmm!!!

*Adapted from a Betty Crocker recipe.

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