Moving from Europe, where tasty, fresh artisan bread is readily available, I have to say, I miss it. I love baking bread, but the bread in Norway was so fresh and delicious I never had a reason to make my own. I’ve had such a hard time finding a sandwich bread that even compares to the ones that I took for granted there so, I knew it was time to start making my own once again.
I thought it might take a while to find a great recipe, but this was the first recipe I tried and it is perfect. Light and airy, thanks to the use of bread flour, and slightly healthier, thanks to the use of honey and whole wheat flour. There’s absolutely no sugar in this recipe – awesome! It’s not a european style bread at all but the slightly sweet and wholesome flavour makes it perfect for sandwiches. And, homemade beats store-bought hands down.
A Few Tips:
- The first time I made these I didn’t have any loaf pans so I just baked them freeform and they turned out fine. The shape isn’t perfect but the taste is just as good.
- These are made with a sponge but don’t let that scare you off. This is a simple bread recipe that’s easy to make. It has a couple more steps than usual but they only take a little extra time and that time is worth the results.
The other thing I love about this recipe is that it stays soft for a long time, longer then other recipes I’ve tried. I really can’t say enough good things about this bread. Now that the bread baking fire is renewed in me I know I’ll be trying my hand at many more recipes, but this will definitely be one that I return to when I want a soft and tender loaf.
For tips on working with yeast doughs head here.
- 3 cups warm water
- 2 (.25 oz) packages active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup honey
- 5 cups bread flour
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3+ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoons butter, melted
- Mix together warm water, yeast, and honey. stir in the white bread flour until evenly combined. Let sit for 30 minutes, until risen and bubbly.
- Mix the melted butter, remaining honey, and salt into the sponge. Stir in 2 cups of whole wheat flour. Knead in enough flour until the dough is smooth and tacky but not overly sticky. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and spray the top of the dough with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 hour).
- Once risen, punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal loaves. Place each into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and allow to rise until the dough has topped the pans by one inch (about an hour).
- Bake at 350º F for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Brush the tops of the loaves with 1 tablespoons melted butter to prevent the crust from getting hard. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely before storing in plastic bags.
Adapted from allrecipes.com.