A new hobby I picked up last year was baking homemade bread. Now it started out as one of those things I just wanted to learn how to do… so, like everything, I researched it to death and figured out how to do it. After a few failed attempts, I perfected a delicious loaf and I have been obsessed ever since. I’ve now learned to bake several types of bread and I love them all, but here’s the recipe for the definitive crowd favorite: Honey Oat Soft Wheat.
This recipe makes two standard loaves with about 16 slices each. Enjoy!
3 cups organic whole wheat flour
3 cups organic unbleached flour
2 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry yeast
4 tsp vital wheat gluten
2 cups warm water (about 105 degrees-you gotta get this part right)
4 Tbsp canola oil
2 -3 Tbsp local raw honey
Mix dry ingredients above in a large bowl with a stiff spoon. Add above wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use your hands to get all the ingredients mixed well together in the bowl. Dough will be warm and shaggy at first. Keep mixing until dough forms a loose ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Flour a large flat surface (I use my counter top after it has been cleaned and dried well) and turn dough out onto the floured surface. Knead well for about 8 minutes. Let dough rest while you clean out the bowl you used to mix it in. Dry thoroughly, then put a few drops of canola oil into the bowl and spread around. Put dough into this bowl and turn a few times so all sides are coated with a light bit of oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and lay a towel on top. Place in a warm area (on top of the oven or kitchen table will do) and let rise for about 2 hours.
When dough has risen (test it by poking lightly with 2 fingers…you should see imprints in the dough) punch it down to remove excess air, then turn in out onto the floured surface again and knead lightly for a minute or two. Cut dough in half and shape into two evenly sized loaves. [Optional: make shallow slashes on top of each loaf for decorative purposes, in a criss-cross pattern. Use a silicone brush to spread a bit more honey on the top of the loaf, then sprinkle with dry oats. This will make your bread beautiful when it is finished. Be careful not to use too much honey here, as it can scorch and leave a burnt topping on your lovely loaf!]
Place each loaf of dough in a greased loaf pan and cover again with plastic wrap and a towel. Allow dough to rise for another hour or so, then it will be ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 2 minutes at this temperature. When finished, turn loaves out onto a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before slicing. Use a serrated knife to slice carefully. Voila! You have delicious bread for dinner, sandwiches, etc.. Store in an air-tight container (I use a Lock & Lock rectangular container for mine.)
Remember, this bread has no artificial ingredients or preservatives (isn’t that awesome?!) so that means it does not have a long shelf life. But as delicious as it is, it probably wont stick around long anyway!
I hope you like it as much as my family does!