Saturday, September 11, 2010

Honey Whole Wheat French Bread

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:>)
The scent of this bread baking is pure heaven! Just a couple notes before you try this recipe. First of all, if you haven't ever tried it, bread baking is easy. Secondly. I switch the recipe up all the time. Today I threw in 2/3 cup of oatmeal (uncooked) before I added the wheat flour, sometimes I add chopped nuts, or 1/3 cup 9 grain mix (try Bob's Red Mill brand from the grocery store) or sunflower seeds.  I have also topped this with egg wash and an equal mix of coarse salt, dill, chopped garlic, and poppy seeds before I bake it for a yummy herbed french bread. You can even mix the herbs inside. It's all good and it all works and once you get the hang of it, you may even think of some variations of your own. Bread is very forgiving.  It warms the house, and if you have never had melting real butter on warm bread fresh from the oven, well, I'm sorry but you really must. 
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?


  1. It sounds great Kathy! I am printing it out and will let you know when I try it.

    It is rainy and cool today here. Right now I am baking an apple crumb pie from the apples I got last weekend at the orchard. It smells divine!

  2. I'm drooling as the smells from your pictures are jumping right out of the screen aat me....scream....time to bake...Nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread. Great recipe.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. YUM! I wish I were home right now! lol. I miss you mom!!!! I hope your weekend is going super well!!! xoxoxo

  4. Oh this bread looks good..I have everything fresh in the house but the honey so I need to go out today and get some...I love baking bread...Poor Penny tried my no-knead recipe and it didn't turn out...I hope she has better luck with your recipe...Happy Baking!!

  5. I love the scent of bread baking...will have to try your recipe for sure!

    Janet xox

  6. Is there anything better than bread? Mmm
    I could eat a whole loaf of bread in one sitting, I swear I could.
    Im a carb addict!!!


  7. Yum. There's truly nothing like fresh baked bread, both while in the oven and while eating it! My son-in-law Zach has been baking bread for his family every few days because the bread in Guam is shipped over frozen! He says it tastes terrible, and there are no good bakeries around. Their house must always smell good! ::Jill

  8. OH! YUM! I don't know that I will be this ambitious, but I am sure pining over your photos!

    I am hosting an Autumn Tea Giveaway. Stroll by if you have a moment.

    Happy Weekend!

  9. Mmm, I do love that bread, especially with the herb topping. You know I tried putting that on one of my recipes once and it just didn't taste like yours. Guess I'll have to use your recipe under the topping, too, eh?

    We've been painting in Juju's room so had windows open. I decided I'd rather turn on the oven than the furnace, so we are having fresh cookies right now. Not so good for our waistlines, sadly, but quite yummy.

  10. The recipe looks so yummy especially with all the variations. I really do want to try it soon. There is nothing like fresh bread ~ it makes your home smell like love!

  11. Yum!!!!!!!!
    You are so the BEST with your homemade recipes!!!

    Love you!


  12. I bet that smells marvelous!
    I would have loved a piece while I caught up on life in your world. I am glad you had a good get away, and that the grades were good. All that anxiety for naught!

    I did bake today. We are getting a new frig this week,and have to clean out the frig. I found an Easter Bunny that was a gift from an expensive choc place. I smashed it up with the meat mallet and made chocolate cookies!
    It was such a gorgeous day outside we ate out on the deck. Savoring these last days of summer!

  13. Looks wonderful! I made chili and brownies today. The cold, all day rain really got us moving, didn't it? I wanted to let you know that I attached the ric-rac by tacking it down on the diagonal. It was a way ladies made it more fancy on aprons. Hope you have a great Sunday!

  14. Hi Kathy! Oh, yummy, this looks and sounds so good! Nothing like homemade hot bread with some butter! :)
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  15. Yum! There's nothing like the smell of home baking!

    I've made muffins three days in a row! I found a recipe for muffins for two in my personal cookbook. Printed off long ago from a frugal group I was on. Gave it a try and it's so quick and easy from scratch that I've made it every day for the past three days! Like your bread recipe I've changed it up with oats, different flour, white chocolate chips etc.


  16. It's way to hot for me to bake, but guess what I have on my counter? Homemade honey wheat bread a friend gifted me with last week! Yours looks so delicious.

  17. Your bread looks so good! I know what you mean about this summer being too hot for baking .. my kichen is not air conditioned felt like a sauna most of the time. Welcome autumn!

  18. There's just not much in this world that I love to eat more than fresh, hot, bread and butter. This sounds amazing and I am going to make it...right after I make that Beer Bread from StoneGable. I just happen to have beer in the fridge and was wondering what to do with it. (now, don't laugh but I bought it because the little tiny bottles were so cute...Mr. Sweet rolled his eyes again.)
    Thanks for this wonderful recipe.
    xo bj

  19. Kathy, if this bread tastes as good as the pictures look, than it's definitely worth making. thanks for the recipe.


  20. Love some good old homemade bread and the smells that they bring...
    Thanks for the recipe!! Love how you change it up!
    The best recipe for banana bread is Trisha Yearwood's from her you I tweeked it a little and it is the best!!

  21. You have a little pig piggy coming to live in your pretty cottage...:)
    Come over and see....
    Then, I should have your address but can't find it so please send it and I'll send Hattie to you...

  22. Ohhhhh.... I am so hungry and seeing these photos of this yummy bread makes my tummy gurgle - and then the next one of the grilled cheese! Ok - I'm going to eat breakfast now! Have a great weekend!

  23. I must agree, there is nothing like the delicious smell of baking bread... it warms the whole house:-) Your recipe sounds great, thanks for sharing it.

    Happy Sunday,

  24. This looks so good, and i agree, when the weather cools in autumn I just want to bake. Thanks for sharing.

  25. You're so right, fall is much better baking weather. I love to make bread. The smell alone is worth the effort. Sounds like a great recipe. One I'll try when out temps get out of the 90's! Mimi

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  27. Your bread looks wonderful. I will definitely try the recipe.


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