Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Sweet Sourdough Bread

As you may know, I've been on the search for a good honey wheat bread. Since my first post on bread, I've made several loaves of honey wheat bread, each with a different recipe. While I have yet to find one that replicates the one in Berkeley that first made me fall in love with honey wheat bread, this one has been my favorite thus far and I was really surprised at how much I liked it.

What's interesting about this honey wheat bread is that it uses sourdough starter, but with the amount of honey in this recipe, it doesn't taste like sourdough bread. It just tastes like a nice slightly sweet honey wheat bread. It is great toasted and buttered and is not too sweet to use in both sweet and savory applications. I thought the ratio of whole wheat flour to bread flour was also perfect since the bread had a nice light whole wheat flavor without sacrificing texture. Those that don't like whole wheat bread in my family also liked it. For more whole wheat flavor, you can also easily replace some of the bread flour with whole wheat flour. I also liked the fact that I could use my sourdough starter in it to produce a loaf with the depth of flavor that a starter provides but is not sour. For an everyday honey wheat bread for those that don't really like wheat bread, this would be my choice assuming you have a starter to use or you could just make one the night before for usage the next day.

Although you can easily make bread without a starter, I've found that I really prefer the taste of bread made with starter. I've also realized that I much prefer bread shaped into a loaf and baked on a sheet pan rather than in a loaf pan because the texture is much lighter. The resulting shape is more difficult for sandwich making, but that's something I'm willing to give up.

Light Honey Wheat Sourdough(Not really) Bread
Adapted from JulieK at
Makes 1 large loaf or 2 medium sized loaves

1 1/3 cups liquid sourdough starter
1 cup warm water(warm but not too hot to touch)
1 tbsp vegetable oil/butter
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/3 cup honey
3/4 tsp fine salt(double the amount of coarse salt)
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 - 4 1/2 cups bread flour

Mix the yeast with the water in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit for 5 minutes to activate.  Add in the honey, starter, and oil.

With a dough hook, mix in the whole wheat flour and salt, then the bread flour. Knead in the machine 8-10 minutes until dough comes together into a ball and is not too sticky. Add more or use less flour as necessary. Place dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size in a warm place.

After the first rise, punch dough down and shape into a large loaf or 2 smaller loaves on a sheet pan, Let rise another 1 1/2 hours. Slash the loaves.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when thumped.

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