Tag Archives: whole wheat

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

3 Jan

A little Kerrygold and a drizzle of honey, and you’ve got yourself a tasty slice.

Here I sit, in jeans complete with two floury handprints on my rear, somewhat defeated by my first bout with bread.  Kneading is hard, y’all.  I never did get to the “windowpane” stage with my dough, but I think (?!) it was okay?  I mean, I’ve never done this before, how will I know?!  The recipe I’m using says nothing about testing it that way, but it seems like the standard if I’m to believe the contestants of The Great British Bake Off.  After 12 minutes of kneading, I was pooped!  Well, tired of kneading in any case, I’ve already mentioned patience is not a virtue I possess.  It’s my first go – we’ll see how it turns out, and I can try again and knead until I get the windowpane, and see how different it is, and then I’ll know, yes?  Science.  This is one of those times that I wish I had taken a class first, so I had some basic knowledge from a skilled bread maker. . .

Thanks to my bag of Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour, I was lightly armed with all the necessary ingredients and a recipe for Honey Whole Wheat Bread.  Combine that with an excited husband, and one last day of holiday vacation, and I was ready.

Bread.  Round One.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

  • 1 cup warm water (this means 100-110 degrees, not warm to the touch, which for a novice baker is not clear at all, and was luckily something I knew in advance)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (one packet; which, thank God, since I did not measure this out at all, just dumped the packet in)
  • 1 cup milk, room temperatureimportant note since on my first round I did not use room temperature milk and tossed the whole thing to start over.  Yes, already.
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 3/4 c all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1 tbsp salt (I used some local stuff I got as a Christmas present)
  • 2 3/4 c whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a mixer, (oh, how I wished for a pastry hook!!!!) combine water and yeast and set aside for 5 minutes.  Stir in milk, honey and oil.  Add all-purpose flour and salt.  Stir to combine, and give yourself the dough claw.  Add whole wheat flour and stir by hand (or with a dough hook – sob) until a dough forms, about 1 minute on low if using mixer.  ** looks like you can do this part with a paddle attachment in your mixture, but why gum it all up when your hand works just as well?  One less thing to wash!

Knead dough until smooth and springy, about 10 minutes on medium speed, or 10+ minutes of what is sure to at some point become zen-like kneading by hand.

Form dough into a ball and place in a large bowl lightly coated with oil.  Turn dough to coat.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Transfer dough to floured surface.  Divide dough in half and form into 2 balls.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  Gently press and shape each ball into a 9×9 inch square.  Fold into thirds, like folding a letter.  Pinch the seam closed and place loaf seam-side down in prepared pan.  Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.  I ended up using a rolling pin to help me with getting 9×9 squares (I should note that I cannot roll or form dough into any particular shape on purpose without the aid of a cookie cutter – circles for pizza?  nope, I get oblongs and we call it flatbread; 9×9″ squares for this bread?  how do you feel about oblongs?), and lord knows if I did it right at all.  Pinch the seal closed?  What does that look like?  How do I know if what I’m considering a pinched closed seal is right?

warm and cozy spot to rise – note that one is doing a better job than the other. . .

Make 3 angled slashes on top of each loaf with a knife and place in oven.  Immediately reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 30 minutes.  Remove from pans and let cool completely.  Makes 2 loaves.

why can’t you be more like your sister?


So, what do we know after Bread, Round One?

  • I did not manage any type of information retention when reading the recipe through. Twice. Good lord, what is wrong with me?  Room temperature milk means not straight out of the fridge.  If 2 1/4 tsp of yeast was not the entire packet, I would have been out of yeast and my bread plans would have been foiled.
  • Patience is a virtue – knead until the kneading’s done.  This is still unclear to me since I’ve seen the windowpane thing, but I’ve also read/seen that you just knead until it seems smooth and elastic, which I definitely thought mine was.  Does all bread need to make it to the windowpane stage?  Or is that just certain types of bread?
  • Those weird folds and crumples I got when shaping?  May have mattered since the finished product had some odd creases running through it, and as is evidenced above, one loaf had much better rise than the other.  I knew when placing them in the pans that one felt better – bread instincts are a thing.  But how do I avoid those?  Other bakers don’t baby their dough. . .maybe it’s just like having children and some just turn out better than others, even if you treat them the same?*
  • Maybe I should, I don’t know, watch one of the trillions of videos online or something.  According to the few I watched (after I tried it myself, of course), there are various techniques to getting your loaf ready to go into the pan, so I guess it’s not that important that things are “perfect” before then.  I didn’t learn how to avoid those creases, but maybe that’s just how bread goes?
  • Even a mediocre first run at making bread can still be pretty tasty.

* I don’t have children, but I realize that making bread is probably nothing like raising children.

Pasta Primavera alla Pesto

19 Mar

I was in the mood for a comforting pasta dish last night, but I wanted to put tons of veggies in it as well.  After stumbling across some pesto languishing in the freezer a couple of weeks ago, I knew it needed to make an appearance, and Pasta Primavera alla Pesto was born.

1 shallot, finely chopped
6 or so spears of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal, about 1/4″ thick
4 or so stalks of broccolini, sliced about 1/4″ thick
1 zucchini sliced about 1/4″ thick
a cup of mushrooms, I sliced up some whites, about 1/4″ thick, but wild mushrooms or creminis or whatever you have on hand would be great too
1 cup of sundried tomatoes
2 cups of shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken is your friend)
1 cup of pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan/Romano/Pecorino/similar cheese
2 tbsp flour
2 cups of lowfat milk
1 pat of butter
whole wheat (or not) pasta of your choosing – I used rotini
olive oil
s&p

First, get your pot of salted water for your pasta on to boil, that goes without saying, right?

Start by softening the shallots in a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat (just toward medium high, but not quite), then add the green veggies & mushrooms to saute for a few minutes (with a bit of salt & pepper to taste).  Once they are crisp tender, move them to a bowl and set them aside.

Whisk the flour into the milk and set it aside.  Then add the pat of butter into the pan, and let it melt and start to get foamy.  Add the milk/flour mixture and stir it as it thickens.  Once it is fairly thick, add the grated cheese and the pesto, and stir it through.  Yum.  A bit more salt and pepper here to taste, and then turn the heat down to low, just to keep it warm until the pasta is ready.

When the pasta is nearly there, add the sundried tomatoes and chicken to heat up a bit, then add the veggies and stir well to combine.

Drain the pasta, put it back in the pot, pour the sauce mixture over it and toss well to coat.

Finish with a bit more cheese if you want.  Yummy, creamy, pesto-y, fresh tasting pasta.