Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Who doesn't get excited about good homemade bread?!  
If you don't, something is sad and unbalanced in your life.

Bread is one of the oldest, earthiest staples of the human diet and thank GOODNESS for the addition of butter to that diet because the combination is….literally….a little slice of heaven.

Thankfully, I'm not on the anti-grain, anti-gluten track right now….maybe I will be someday, but happily NOT today!!!  (although I should be…my love of homemade bread isn't healthy)  I got into the Paleo Diet thing and I definitely love aspects of it, but I really feel like God gave us all of the resources we need here on earth to be healthy, including grains, and I definitely believe in moderation in ALL things.  

I try to eat healthy, I really, really do.  My family eats SO much healthier than I ever did as a kid.  I'm not a total health-nut, but I'm a huge fan of being mindful and making good choices.  My new goal is to quit being lazy (yeah, right) and have healthy bread on hand to make school lunches with.    

In trying to be careful of what wheat I use for my bread, and came upon this brand on Amazon, which is a Non-GMO, organic wheat berry.  YES! 

Wheat has become controversial lately, but here are some of the researched health benefits to wheat:

*helps lower hazards of heart disease
*helps diabetes patients regulate blood glucose levels
*the nutrient value of wheat is maintained even after grinding it into flour
*energy booster
*controls obesity 
*improves body metabolism
*helps reduce chronic inflammation
well…the list goes on, but here is a great site if you're interested.

Obviously, making bread with butter, sugar, and other ingredients doesn't ensure a 'healthy' product, but overall, if you're going to eat bread, you might as well reap the benefits of whole wheat and grind some yourself.  

I don't have a heavy-duty wheat grinder like most people, but I do have this handy little Kitchenaid attachment that was WAY cheaper!  However, since I have experimented with this wheat and it's amazing flavor, I might have to get a better grinder.

Golly!  I feel like the Little Red Hen…which means that I get to eat all of the bread myself.

Okay, so I'm NOT a bread whiz.  I'm not that "Bread Queen" that everybody knows.  I just like making my own bread and here is something I learned while doing it:
It needs to be MOIST.  This is what my bread dough looks like AFTER I am done adding flour.  It's a little mushy, but after kneading it for 15 minutes (below)….

It starts to become more elastic and cling to the bowl a little more.  This is the texture I'm after because it produces such a light, fluffy, moist bread.  If you have too much flour to start with, your bread can get heavy. 

At the end of kneading, roughly 15-20 minutes depending on your dough, It should be a little stretchy and sticky.  Mine is particularly sticky because I used honey.  

and now the waiting begins…..

recipe is below, but this is my bread rising…isn't it beautiful?!  Even the dough tastes yummy - there is no bitter flavor from these wheat berries.

 In the meantime…while I'm waiting…
check out my newest, most adorable little plant!!!!
{gasp!!}  She's so tiny, beautiful, and I call her Flora.
It was love at first sight - I was at Safeway purchasing fruit and she was sitting all by herself on a plant stand.  I really think she needed me.  I had to do the right thing and bring her home.

Flora likes her new home on my window sill.  My teenage son tries to tell her mean things like how I'm horrible with plants, how nothing ever survives in my care, but I told her not to listen to that nonsense.  We're going to be good friends, Flora and I.  

 Oh, and while the Kitchenaid was just sitting there….on the counter doing nothing…the only natural thing to do while waiting for bread to rise was to make Kadie's coconut chocolate chip cookies.  Hey - it made sense.
Like I said, I'm not a health nut.

Okay….imagine the most amazing homemade bread smell…
Everything seems right in the world when the house smells like fresh homemade bread that was JUST pulled out of the oven.  

…and here come the little people.  This poor bread sat and cooled for all of 5 minutes before my littles were hovering all over it.
This, friends, is evidence of a wonderful, happy childhood.

This bread is so light, fluffy, moist, and OH SO GOOD!!!!  

Honey Whole Wheat Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

1 c. warm water
4 ½ tsp. active dry yeast (2 packets)
1 c. scalded milk
½ c. good, local honey (we have mesquite honey and it's AMAZING)
⅓ c. melted butter
⅓ c. melted organic extra virgin coconut oil
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
4 c. fine ground whole wheat flour
2 c. unbleached white flour (or fine white wheat flour)

*note: you could use 6 c. fine whole wheat flour, but I added a little bit of white flour in order to keep the bread from being too heavy.  

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; set aside.  In a large Kitchenaid mixing bowl with wire whisk attachment, mix milk, honey, butter, coconut oil, salt, and eggs.  Add 2 c. flour and mix until smooth.  Add the rest of the flour and mix until combined.  Switch attachments to the bread kneading tool and knead dough for 15-20 minutes, or until it starts pulling away from the bowl and develops an elasticity.

Place in well-greased bowl; cover and let rise until doubled in size, usually 1 ½ hours.  

When doubled in size, punch down dough.  Roll into 2 loaves and place each loaf in a well greased bread pan.  Set aside and let rise again for another hour or until it's doubled in size again.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-30 minutes.  Bread is done when it is brown on top and hollow-sounding in the center when you tap on it, or reaches 200 degrees on a meat thermometer.  The more you bake bread, the better you'll know when your bread is done.  Have FUN and enjoy your amazing bread!!!  


Thimbleanna said...

Hi Abby - I was surprised to learn that there is a wheat grinder for the kitchen aid - and disappointed to read that you would consider getting a "real grinder"? Does the KA grinder not work well? With just two of us left at home I don't think I would grind enough wheat to justify a big grinder - would the KA grinder be good enough for occasional use? Your bread recipe looks wonderful - thanks for the recipe!!!

Abby said...

Hi Thimbleanna! The Kitchen Aid grinder is a good grinder, but with all of the grinding that I've been doing, my mixer gets very hot. I think that a heavier-duty grinder would suit my needs better, but for now I absolutely love this grinder attachment. It definitely gets the job done! :)