The original recipe is Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread Inspired by Chris Kimball from the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. At the time of mixing the dough, I didn't have whole wheat flour and took a chance on using all All-Purpose Flour in the recipe. It worked out beautifully. The family fell in love, the kids wanted to eat peanut butter sandwiches all day long, and I fell addicted to having creamy toast for breakfast.
I'll admit that we're accustomed to Mrs. Baird's pillow soft and sweet bread, she always has the best french baguette loaf. I knew that if I wanted my family to turn to the fresh side, I would have to sweeten the transition. This recipe helped me do that.
HERE'S WHAT IT TAKES
- 3 cups lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (or 2 packets)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Mix the yeast, salt, honey, and butter with the lukewarm water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container.
Mix in the flour without kneading, using a spoon. Mix until there's no pockets of flour present. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses; approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it's easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days.
On baking day, lightly grease a 9 x 4 x 3-inch nonstick loaf pan with butter. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 1/2 pound (cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Form an elongated oval and place it into the prepared pan. Allow to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes or just 4o minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough.
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 400ºF, with an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
Place the loaf on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm.
Allow to cool before slicing or eating.
This recipe makes WONDERFUL baguettes for snacking, too. After shaping the dough into a oval-shaped loaf. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal covered pizza peel for 20 minutes BEFORE heating up the oven and pizza stone. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes for baguettes.
Baking has never been easier since I started using the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. Click on the book title and get your copy today. This cookbook is LOADED with awesome recipes such as Onion Rye, Deli Style Rye, Spinach Feta Bread, Fresh and Fruity Oatmeal Bread, Bran-Enriched White Bread, and my personal favorite Sticky Caramel Rolls.
My mouth waters just thinking about them.