Why do I love bread so much?
Maybe it’s the smell of the yeast proofing…maybe it’s the calming repetitiveness of kneading the bread…. Whatever the reason, I assure you I do NOT like bread because of its great nutritional value. While this recipe is barely changed, at least using whole wheat flour adds not only fiber, but also flavour to the bread.
The original is from this site.
My changes: I cut the recipe in half [I’m not trying to feed an entire army at one time]. I subbed half the flour for whole-wheat flour [I didn’t even bother with white whole-wheat, and went straight to whole wheat]. I left out the cardamom [I try to not use ingredients that I don’t know, and that evidently are only rivaled in price by saffron in the spice department]. I kneaded this loaf BY HAND [I don’t have a mixer, bread maker, or anything so fancy]. I also included more helpful hints. At least I hope they are helpful.
3/4 c warm water, divided
1/8 c + 1 tsp sugar, divided
1 Tbsp rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c whole-wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 c honey
1/3 c canola oil
2 eggs, plus one yolk for eggwash, if desired
Combine 1/2 c lukewarm water, 1 tsp sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. [Note: If you’ve never proofed yeast before, then be warned–it will foam up. Note: If you’ve never proofed this much yeast, then be warned–it will foam up A LOT.] In a separate bowl, sift together flours, salt, and remaining 1/8 c sugar. In a third bowl whisk eggs, oil, and honey. Once the yeast has proofed for 5 minutes, add it to the flour mixture, and immediately add the egg-oil-honey mixture also. Stir together just until combined. Scrape contents out onto a floured surface and knead for about 7 minutes. [Note: Some breads get tough if kneaded too long–this is not one of those breads.] Place kneaded dough in a covered, oiled bowl and leave to rise for 2 and a half hours. [Note: Covering the bowl is necessary so that the bread does not dry out on top and cause a premature crust. For a stove-top oven, I like to turn the oven on the lowest setting, let it get up to temperature, then turn it off before I set the bowl of dough on top of the stove. For an in-wall oven, I do the same thing, except when I turn off the temperature, I place the bowl in the oven, but leave the door slightly open.]
After approximately 2.5 hours, the dough will have doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 375oF. Knead the dough for 30 seconds, and separate into three equal pieces. Gently stretch each piece into a strand approximately a foot long. Braid the strands together. Brush the top of the bread completely with eggwash, and then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the crust is dark brown on top and the loaf has a hollow sound when tapped.