If you have followed my instagram for any amount of time you know that this is a BIG hit in my household. This slightly sweet, bouncy bread is perfect for sandwiches or toast. Really though just having fresh bread around is one of the best things in life. My husband wont let us go a week without a fresh loaf in the house so you know this is a good one. As bread recipes go, this is a pretty easy one too!
So lets get into the details.
- Make a sponge
- Let it rise
- Make a dough
- Let it rise
- Make a loaf
- Let it rise
In the bread world the sponge I am referring to is called an autolysis. It is the initial combination of flour water and yeast. Creating an autolysis and letting it rest first does a few things. It gives the flour time to hydrate fully, allows protein to build – giving the bread an ideal gluten structure and reduces kneading time later, all of which improves the total flavor of the bread… we love a good autolysis.
- Use warm water- not too hot. Warm damp environments helps the yeast grow but if it is too hot it can actually kill the yeast. A good rule of thumb is to use water that is just warm enough for a babies bath.
- Before covering the bowls, spray the plastic wrap with oil so the dough doesn’t stick to it.
- You can use any flour with this recipe. If you want a more earthy flavor you can use a good whole grain flour, for a regular white honey wheat just use all-purpose or bread flour.
- Bread flour is an all purpose that has a higher protein content and helps the gluten develop properly in the bread
- The better the flour – the better the result, for all breads. (I combine king Arthur bread and whole wheat flours for this one)
- Flour is like a sponge, the better the flour the thirstier it will be so use this recipe as a guide but just use however much flour you need to get the desired consistency for each stage.
- If it is a particularly humid day, your dough will soak up that moisture in the air and will need more flour. Once you have reached the amounts called for in this recipe, add by the spoonful until each step is achieved.
- I use this danish dough whisk for all of my doughs and pies and… most of my baking. Highly recommend
- kneading: push out with the heel of your hand and fold in with your fingers, then turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat
- Poke test: For all breads, poke the dough to see if it is ready for the oven. If the indent stays in place it is ready to go.
- Let the bread cool. As tempting as it is to dive into a fresh warm loaf of bread, it can interrupt the baking process. Wait as long as you can.
Step 2: Autolysis
Step 4: Just before the punch down and the additional ingredients are added
Step 7: what the dough will look like before the 2nd rise.
Step 12a: dough in the pans before final rise
Step 12b: the poke test
Step 13: going into the oven
Step 14: buttah
- Flour (approx 10 cups) (any combination of flour)
- 3 cups of warm water
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup of honey- 1/2 cup at a time
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (it melts into the dough nicely)
- 3 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
- In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast and 1/2 cup of honey
- Add in 4 cups of flour to create your sponge (autolysis)
- Spray plastic wrap with oil and cover (oil side down to reduce sticking to the dough) and let it rest in a warm still place for 30 minutes or until doubled
- Punch or stir down a bit and add 1/2 cup honey, salt, butter and mix in together
- Add more flour, looking for your dough. Start with adding 4 cups and keep adding until its a workable kneadable dough.
- When it gets too strong to continue mixing in the bowl, transfer to a floured surface. Keep adding flour 1/2 cup at a time and kneading until it gets to a dough that is not sticking to your hands at all.
- Spray the bowl you were using before with oil and place the dough in it to rise. Spray the top of the dough, then the plastic wrap and cover to let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
- Remove from bowl, place on counter.
- Cut into 3 equal sections or 6 mini sections.
- Knead each loaf for about 2 minutes. *** Be sure to pick it up and throw it down on the counter a couple times while kneading / folding in on itself and turning it. Throwing it down 3 or 4 times helps push the bubbles out. I have had breads bake with bubbles in them and it is awful.
- After kneading, roll into itself, like you’re rolling up cinnamon rolls, to create a loaf shape.
- Place in oiled and floured bread pans, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until an indent stays in place when you poke the corner.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees while rising
- Reduce oven heat to 350 and bake for approx. 20 minutes or until browned on the bottom
- Butter the tops and let sit until cooled almost all the way.