Is there anything better than the smell of fresh bread baking? Uh, no…
I have baked bread for years. I try to make our food healthy. For the past few years, I have tried to bake whole wheat all the time. Lately, I have used a crusty bread recipe that has both whole wheat and (mainly) bread flour. It is truly hearty and tastes healthy.
1 c (5.5 oz) bread flour
1/4 c (1.25 oz) whole wheat flour
3/8 t instant yeast
1 1/4 t honey
1 1/3 c (11.2 oz) water
(I weigh my ingredients instead of cup measuring them. Much more reliable)
Make the starter. In a mixing bowl, place the bread flour, whole wheat flour, yeast, honey, and water. Whisk until very smooth. It should be the consistency of thick batter. Set aside, covered with plastic wrap, while you make the flour mixture.
1 3/4 c (10.3 oz) bread flour
1/2 t instant yeast
(to be added later) 1 1/2 t salt
Whisk together the flour and yeast. Scoop it onto the starter to cover it completely and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to ferment for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature. (The starter will bubble through the flour mixture in places.)
MIX THE DOUGH
With the dough hook, mix on low speed for about 1 minute until the flour is moistened enough to form a rough dough. Scrape down the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle on the salt and knead the dough on medium speed for 7 minutes. The dough should be elastic, smooth, and slightly sticky.
Scrape the dough into a lightly greased bowl. Push down the dough and oil the top. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Scrape the dough onto a floured counter and press down on it gently to form a rectangle. Give it 1 business letter turn, round he edges, and return it to the container. Oil again, cover and let rise until doubled (45 minutes to 1 hour).
SHAPE and PREHEAT
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and press it down to flatten it slightly. It will still be sticky, but use only as much flour as absolutely necessary. Round the dough into a ball and set it on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Cover the dough with a large container or plastic wrap and allow it to rise until almost doubled (45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes). When the dough is pressed gently with a finger, the depression will very slowly fill in.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 465 F. Place an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone on it, and a cast iron skillet or sheet pan on the floor of the over before preheating.
SLASH AND BAKE
With a sharp knife or razor, slash the bread in a cross. Set the baking sheet on the baking stone and immediately put 1/2 c of ice cubes in the pan on the bottom of the oven. Close the oven door quickly.
Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425 F. and continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes. Halfway though the baking, turn the pan around for even baking.
Remove the bread from the oven and transfer it to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
Store in a paper grocery bag to retain crispness.