I’ve long been on the hunt for the perfect, healthy homemade sandwich bread, and I’ve come across some good recipes along the way. The Buttermilk and Honey Whole Wheat Bread at The Fresh Loaf has been a favorite.
About a year ago, I discovered Jim Lahey’s recipe for no knead pot bread, which is an amazingly simple way to produce artisan style bread. Try it! It’s great as is, but also very good with whole wheat flour or a combination of both.
The basic concept of no knead bread is that you let time do the work for you. Just stir up the ingredients, cover, and let it rise for 12-24 hours. Letting it sit so long produces complexity of flavor that is often missing in traditionally kneaded breads.
I highly recommend his book My Bread. The recipes I’ve tried are wonderful; though there are actually not as many bread recipes in the book as I had hoped. The middle of the book is devoted to pizza – one dough recipe and lots of recipes for various topped pizzas. And the last third of the book is full of mouthwatering looking sandwich recipes.
Another book devoted to the same topic is Kneadlessly Simple. I borrowed it from the library (for nine weeks), and had an opportunity to try a lot of different recipes. There’s an amazing amount, and a lot of them are very good.
So, anyway, on to my recipe. Despite these two books, I didn’t find the perfect recipe for a healthy, everyday, multipurpose loaf, so I started with a basic recipe, made a lot of adaptations over the course of a couple weeks, and here is the result.
It looks unremarkable, but I think it is delicious. The crust is slightly chewy, and the interior is moist and soft while still having a lot of substance. It has a nice crumb, not too dense, and a wonderful mild flavor. It also keeps well on the counter.
I’ve updated the recipe with mass measurements. I’ve found that if this dough is too wet, the top will cave a bit while baking. Measuring flour by volume varies so much from person to person, so here’s more accurate measuerments:
4 cups whole wheat flour (540 grams)
1 3/4 t salt
3/4 t instant yeast
3 T butter (melted)
3 T honey
2 cups ice water (475 grams)
1. Mix the flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl
2. Melt the butter. Once melted, stir the honey into the butter.
3. Add the butter, honey and water to the dry ingredients and mix well. The dough should be fairly stiff.
4. Cover and let rise for 12-18 hours.
5. Stir the dough and let rise for about 2 hours in a large, greased bread pan.
6. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 70 minutes. You will probably want to cover it with foil for the last 15-20 minutes to prevent the top from getting to dark.