Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Honey Whole Wheat Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

When I was in high school my mom found a bread machine at a thrift store and started baking bread for our family on a weekly basis.  You can almost always find a bread machine at a thrift store because people buy them with dreams of making homemade bread, and then they barely ever use it.  Not my mom though, she stuck with it.  Not surprising though because besides the fact that my family usually always takes the do-it-yourself route, fresh homemade bread is irresistibly delicious and costs less than a dollar to make!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

Once my mom started making bread and I saw how easy (if not time consuming) it was, I got sucked in and had to start experimenting with making my own.  After she bought the Cheese Board cookbook I once spent one very ambitious day trying to make country bread, baguettes, and cheese rolls.  I was exhausted, but very happy at the end of the day admiring my gluten-full creations.  We kept a sourdough starter going for a few years, but after my mom absentmindedly tossed it down the sink while doing dishes we never really got around to starting a new one.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

These days I mostly like to make simple breads.  No sourdough starter, no planning three days in advance.  If it’s not a batch of Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread, it’s rosemary focaccia or this honey whole wheat sandwich loaf.  This bread is really good – sturdy, but still soft with a beautiful bronzed crust and more flavor than any packaged loaf from the grocery store.  It’s as perfect as toast with butter for breakfast as it is for sandwiches for lunch.  Even better is that since it’s ⅔ whole wheat you can feel good about eating it.  If you want to make it 100% whole wheat, that’s fine too, just be aware that it will be a denser loaf.  Also, if you’re a procrastinator, or if you want to make this over multiple days there’s a special treat for you!  Putting the dough in the fridge in between steps slows the rising process and develops more flavor in the finished product!  Sometimes being busy or life getting in the way can actually pay off!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread | Cravings & Crumbs

Before you scroll down to the ingredients I have to warn you – they’re a bit odd.  I wanted a loaf that would have a gloriously tall crown over the pan and the only way to do that was to scale up my starting measurements by 25%.  You’ve been warned and I’m telling you it’s worth it for that tall loaf.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ¼ c. lukewarm water
  2. 1 T. + ¼ t. instant yeast
  3. ¼ c. + 1 T. vegetable oil
  4. ¼ c. + 1 T. honey
  5. 3 c. + 2 T. whole wheat flour
  6. 1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
  7. ¼ c + 1 T. nonfat dried milk
  8. 1 ½ t. kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Add the water to the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. The yeast should start to get foamy. If not, you need to replace your yeast!
  2. Add the rest on the ingredients to the bowl, stirring with a wooden spoon to form a rough dough. Using the dough hook, knead the dough for 7-9 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed in the beginning. If by 5 minutes of kneading the dough is still very sticky add extra of either type of flour 1 T at a time.
  3. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and scrape dough into this bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Lightly spray a work surface with nonstick spray and plop dough out of bowl. Gently pat into a rectangle shape, then roll into a log. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray and add the dough, seam side down. Cover with oiled saran wrap and allow to rise a second time for an hour or until the dough is about ½-1” above the edge of the pan.
  5. Near the end of the second rise, preheat your oven to 350° F. Bake bread for 30-40 minutes. (If you want to get precise about it, a thermometer inserted into the middle of the bread should read 190° F). Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Notes
  1. Feel free to play with the ratio of whole wheat to all-purpose flour, keeping in mind that the more whole wheat there is the denser the loaf will be and the more all-purpose, the lighter the loaf.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Cravings & Crumbs http://www.cravingsandcrumbs.com/
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Garlic Confit (Roasted Garlic Oil)

Roasted garlic oil is somewhat of a secret weapon in my refrigerator.  You know when you read cookbooks written by restaurant chefs and all the recipes have like 3 sub recipes for different sauces?  Well this is my sub recipe – the one that takes over an hour to prepare, but makes anything you put it on taste so much more complex.  Even if it’s just spreading it on a piece of toast, this garlic confit elevates quick, everyday meals.  Once you have it in your fridge you’ll suddenly find so many ways to use it. Read More

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2016 Cooking Reflections and Goals for the New Year

Mt. Tamalpais

It’s December 31, 2016 and I’m laying on the couch, surfing the internet for recipes as I always do and, for once, reflecting back on the year.  Specifically, I’m reflecting on my cooking and how it has changed over the years.  J recently mentioned to me that he really liked how we ate in college, which is probably not something you hear very often, but by the time we lived together I was cooking dinner at least 5 times a week.  From what I can remember we ate a lot of roasted chicken and vegetables, mexican comfort food learned from his mom, and homemade pizza.  That’s also the year we visited my cousin in Portland and came home obsessed with Pok Pok.  Once I got the cookbook we were trying different thai recipes every week.  

2015 was a year of cooking for people I love.  We were living with J’s parents then and their house is one that everyone in the family ends up congregating at so there were a lot of sunday night carne asadas and impromptu parties to cook for.  I can’t remember much what we cooked that year, but some highlights I remember were fish tacos, barbecue ribs and finding appreciation for chicharrones and tripas, but please still keep the menudo away from me…I’m not there yet.

This year I feel like I spent most of the year rushed, constantly trying to figure out what we would have for dinner and ending up going to the grocery store with little idea.  That’s not to say I didn’t cook and eat a lot of good food, I just wasn’t as focused as I wish I had been.  This year I came to love indian, peruvian, and a lot of seafood I never thought I would like.  I also fell out of love with a lot of my favorite go-to foods – steak, roast chicken, hamburgers and brussels sprouts.  So here I am, on the verge of a new year, craving new flavors that I haven’t identified yet, but here’s my plan to get there:

Slow down.  If you’re trying to do too many things, you’re probably not doing any of them very well.

Plan ahead.  The more you plan what you want to eat, the easier it will be to accomplish it.  The less time you’re frantically trying to figure out what to cook, the more time you can be cooking, focusing and enjoying the moment.

Explore new tastes.  If you see a combination of ingredients you haven’t thought of before, just try it.  Try recipes using new spices.  Alternatively, cook some of the recipes that have been sitting on your list for too long (possibly years).

Fight the paralysis of choice.  Instead of scrolling through Pinterest for hours, scroll for 30 seconds, pick something and stick with it.  It will be much simpler in the long run.

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