Ahhh Saturday. Can anyone really appreciate it fully without work to take up so many hours the rest of the week? This morning dawned with a cool autumn snap in the air. After our weekly Saturday morning coffee date, I came home with a hankering to bake. I haven't done much baking all summer. Who wants to bake in the sweltering 90's?
So I got a couple loaves of my favorite Honey Wheat French bread rising and then my glance fell on the over-ripe bananas on the fruit plate. Well, what could I do but turn on the oven and make some sweet banana bread? No special recipe for that, just good ol' Betty Crocker. The Wheat Bread recipe came from a cookbook put out by Victoria Magazine, (the old one), called At Home with Friends and Family. I have never made a recipe from that magazine that wasn't wonderful. I've tweaked it a bit over the years, here is my recipe:
Whole Wheat French Bread
4 to 41/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/8 cup honey
2 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/3 cup hot water (110-115 degrees)
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar and salt. Mix well and add the water and honey. Beat at med. speed until its well mixed. At this point I usually switch the paddle on my Kitchenaid to a dough hook attachment.
Add the rest of the flour one cup at a time at low speed until you have a moderately stiff dough that is smooth. I can usually tell that it is ready when it cleans the flour off the sides of the bowl and is firm enough to pull out of the bowl with a minimum of sticking. Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead just a bit until smooth. Butter the mixing bowl and put the dough back inside, turn it to coat with the butter, cover and let it rise until it is double. (45 minutes to an hour)
Turn it out on a floured surface, punch it down, knead it just a little bit more to get the air bubbles out, cut it in half and form it into the shape of a loaf. Place on a greased baking sheet or in greased bread pans (place the seam on the bottom), cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400. Bake the bread for 10 minutes, reduce the oven temp to 350 and bake for another 20 minutes. Try to let them cool before you cut into them. Fight over who gets the end pieces. Or share if that's your style:>)
Let me know if you try this, I think you'll like it.
Have a great weekend, and please share, what do you love to bake on a cool day?