We source our flour from a local farm so we do a lot of baking at home. We still have to buy organic white flour from a bulk store. We’ve had great luck with sourdough, ciabatta, baguette and focaccia but I’ve never found a whole wheat my family has LOVED. Until now! They absolutely love this whole wheat loaf and I think that is because the honey keeps it moist and gives it a bit of sweetness that works just as well with sandwiches as it does with jam. I find one batch a week works for a family of four.
Makes 2 large loaves
Part I: the sponge
• 3 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 2 TB yeast
• ¼ C cup honey
• 5 cups white flour
Part II: the dough
• 1/4 cup honey
• 1 tablespoon salt
• 3 -4 cups whole wheat flour
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Using the stand mixer with the dough hook attachment I mix all the ingredients from part I and then let it sit for ½ hour until bubbly. I then add all the ingredients from part II and mix it until it’s combined and let it sit for a few minutes until the water is absorbed into the flour. Then I run the machine for 10 minutes to knead the dough.
After 10 minutes I then remove the bowl from the mixer, cover, and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature until it has doubles in size. Grab two bread pans and line each pan with a piece of parchment that you’ve crunched up into a ball & then rinse the parchment under water so that it’s moist. Remove the dough to a clean, dry surface and cut in half. Take a half and grab a small piece, stretch it (without breaking it) & then fold it over to the middle. I find that this video on shaping sourdough is the best method that works for me. I shape the dough into a more oblong loaf for the bread pans.
Once the dough is in the pans, cover and let rise until doubled again, about 1-2 hours. At this point I usually prefer to pop the bread pans into the fridge to proof overnight but you can do it either way.
Preheat the oven to 350F & if you’d like, you can place a small metal bowl at the bottom of the oven to create steam. Once the oven is at temperature, I add about a cup of water to the bowl right before I insert the pans to help the loaves expand. Bake for 30 minutes (start checking at 25 minutes) or until the bread is nicely browned and sounds hollow. This recipe makes two large loaves and will keep for about a week at room temperature. If you don’t eat this much bread in a week, you can freeze one loaf for later. Never put bread in the fridge as it makes it taste stale