A rustic whole-wheat bread boule made with simple ingredients, perfect for any meal of the day.
Here we have it, my second loaf of bread as part of my “make lots and lots of bread” resolution. It’s kind of a silly resolution, actually, considering how cheap good bread is here in Austria, but making my own is so much more satisfying and will come in handy when I leave.
Two weeks ago I posted a recipe for Cinnamon-Raisin Bread, which was my first new bread recipe of 2014. This time I chose to go very simple, with a sort-of artisanal loaf. I say “sort of” because I’m not really sure was qualifies as artisan bread, despite the fact that artisan bread recipes are all over the Internet. Other people are confused about the term, too, apparently.
Though I’ve always messed around in the kitchen, it wasn’t until a few years ago (2008, actually, which is now SIX years ago) that I moved on from cake mixes to all from-scratch recipes. I remember declaring one day that I wanted to learn how to make cake from scratch and I just plugged away in the kitchen until I got it right. Now I never use cake mixes and can totally taste the difference between a homemade cake and a box mix. I’ve got a few go-to cake recipes and I hope to find some go-to recipes for bread, as well. For now, this one is definitely a keeper!
If you follow me on Pinterest (go! do it!), you know I’ve been madly pinning all sorts of bread recipes to one of my boards. I’ve got more than enough to work through this year. But I’m always looking for more recipes, so I’d love to hear your answers to the following questions: What is your favorite type of bread? What’s your favorite bread recipe? Please leave your answers in the comments below!
Slightly adapted from the Weekend Bakery
- 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/2 T honey
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 T butter, softened
Mix yeast and warm water in a medium-large mixing bowl and let sit for about five minutes to allow the yeast to become active. Add in flour, honey, and salt, and stir to combine. Once combined, add in butter. At this stage you might want to use your hands inside the bowl rather than a spoon to make sure the butter gets properly incorporated.
Turn bread out onto a clean, lightly oiled countertop. Knead for about 15-20 minutes. If the dough feels too wet, use flour to knead instead of the oiled counter. The bread is done being kneaded when it can be stretched thin without breaking–that is, when it passes the windowpane test. Alternatively, knead in a mixer with the bread hook for about 10 minutes. Shape into a ball.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel or cling film. Set in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
Knock back and shape the dough into a boule. If you’re not sure about the technique, check out this video from The Kitchn or this one from Weekend Bakery. Shaping a bread loaf is one thing I don’t have the words for.
Place on your baking sheet and allow to rise for at least another hour. You want an indentation made by your finger in the loaf to hold it’s shape and not fill in automatically. My loaf took an hour and half on it’s second rise.
When your loaf gets close to being ready to go in the oven, preheat your oven to 450ºF. Place an empty baking pan (I used a 7×9 metal pan) on the lowest rack of your oven. Just before placing the bread in the oven, slash the top of your loaf to prevent it from splitting on its own and to help it maintain the round shape. Fill the baking pan with one or two cups of boiling water; this will create steam and a better crust. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow when you tap it on the bottom.
Bread is never quite an exact science and things like the age of your yeast and the exact type of flour can effect the loaf. The amount of flour and water you need may vary slightly from the amounts shown here. Baking times also vary depending on the oven–my oven tends to run high, so I turned down the temperature after ten minutes and checked it every ten minutes after to make sure it wasn’t getting too brown.