I remember at last year’s Liberty Village farmer’s market how excited I was to find a farmer who grows and mills her own wheat locally. I was excited to see Monckton Organic Farms and Bakery back again this year. I immediately scooped up some local wheat flour and decided that some homemade bread was in order. I have actually never made bread at least not the full rise and bake way before but always had such fond memories of eating my mother’s fresh out of the oven when I was little.
I set out to find a good base recipe on epicurious and I was not disappointed. I made several variations to the recipe which I adapted from Gourmet magazine’s publication of Timothy J Hayes recipe and it was seriously fantastic. The recipe makes two loaves and for me that meant one to eat now and one for the freezer and I made one with sunflower seeds and the other topped with oats. I think this recipe will lend itself to even further variation so feel free to add what you love and make it your own.
You have to try this, you will never buy storebought bread again.
Local wheat and honey bread
5 cups whole wheat flour
1 TBSP FLax meal (optional)
1 TBSP Wheatgerm (optional)
3 TBSP sugar
2 TSP salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey (preferably local and organic)
2 cups warm water
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
An egg wash made from 1 TBSP water and one egg white
Assortment of seeds or oats for topping
In a small bowl combine 2 1/2 tsp yeast and 1 3/4 cups warm water with one TBSP sugar, cover with a tea towel and set aside for 5 minutes until the mixture is foamy.
In a measuring cup or small bowl whisk remaining 1/4 cup water with honey (the original recipe calls for molasses so you could use either)
In a large bowl combine 2 cups flour, oil, remaining sugar, and salt
Add the yeast mixture and the honey water mixture and stir until they all come together. Add remaining flour and continue mixing until completely combined and a soft ball of dough forms.
On a floured surface knead the dough for approximately 8 minutes until smooth and elastic and shape back into ball.
Place ball of dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with tea towel until it doubles in bulk (about 1 hour)
Punch the dough down, recover with tea towel and let rise again for 45 minutes
Grease loaf pans lightly with butter.
Divide the dough in half and knead lightly and place into loaf pans
Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.
Whish egg white and water together to form egg wash and brush top of loaves generously with a pastry brush sprinkle with any type of seeds, grains or oats that you like. I used sunflower seeds on one loaf and oats on the other.
Bake for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven and then reduce heat to 350 and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes or until golden.
Turn bread out onto a rack and allow to cool.
Make your favorite sandwich, toast, or enjoy simply just like that!
While this recipe may seem like a lot of work or that it takes a long time, but I promise you will not be disappointed. Slow food made naturally, tastes better, is better for you and the sense of acoomplishment you will feel accompanied by the delicious fragrance of baking bread wafting through your kitchen makes it all worth it.