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Honey-Whole Wheat Bread
single 9x5 loaf
2 cups whole wheat bread flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1-1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant yeast (or one 1/4-ounce packet)
1 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten (if you've got it)
mix these dry ingredients together.
heat to 120F:
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey
alternately, use 1 cup warm water and add 1/3 cup powdered milk to the dry ingredients.
add the liquids to your dry flour/yeast mixture and blend until evenly incorporated.
work 2 cups white bread flour, a cup at a time, into the dough. it should begin to hold together after this. if you're using a mixer, you can continue with that process, or turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead until the flour is incorporated and you have a smooth ball of dough. it will be slightly tacky, but shouldn't stick to the surface or your hands.
grease a bowl, plop the dough ball into it, and turn it so it gets 'buttered all over', cover it with a kitchen towel, and set it to rise until doubled in bulk. depending on your ambient temperature, it could take 1-3 hours.
when it's doubled, punch it down in the bowl, and turn it out onto a floured work surface. knead it a few minutes to work out the bubbles, add a little flour if it sticks to your hands, but this dough probably won't need it. flatten it out into a rectanglish-shape with your hands or a rolling pin, and roll it up tightly as you can, pinching the closing seams together, tucking the ends in if need be, and set to rise (covered) in a greased loaf pan. the second rise goes much faster, again, depending on ambient temperature, 30-60 minutes is typical.
preheat your oven to 375F, and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce to 350F for an additional 30 minutes. keep watch on it, I think my oven runs about 25 degrees hot. if everything goes well, it should just roll out of the loaf pan when tipped on its side. cool it on a rack, resting on its bottom, and the rack will leave cutting guides for you.
I used wheat germ this time because I had it on hand. I used to make it with cracked wheat, or wheat 'berries' that had been soaked in warm water to soften a bit. I'm guessing that was about 2 tablespoons in quantity.
Measures are approximations--nothing is to panic about as long as you're in the ballpark.
If you coat the top crust with melted butter or margarine while it's hot, it will stay soft. the advantage to this is that slicing the bread won't crush the loaf. Slice the loaf laying on one side--it's a deterrent to crushing, and it exposes the cutting guides you made on the bottom of the loaf.