What is better than fresh bread? Seriously though, this is a question that needs to be answered! We all know and love that delicious brown bread at a certain restaurant that has a menu as big a as a full college binder! (who uses those anymore?) And happens to have cheesecake. Whoa, that combination sounds dangerous, because it is. This Honey Wheat Brown Bread is dark, rich, and full on intoxicating flavor. In this context, intoxicating means that it tastes so good that you won’t be able to stop eating it. Or maybe that’s just me….how do I end up on these tangents? Maybe it’s because of my rabbit-trail mind, or maybe it’s because I’m secretly a very smart person hiding inside the body of a first-class, grade a, certified nut! I’m on a tangent right now, aren’t I? Bread has always been my one true love, no wait, that’s pasta! I have betrayed pasta! Oh no! Now I’ve betrayed bread! The endless cycle of betrayal! It never ends…..You see, I really don’t know if I like pasta or bread better, which means that I must eat both at the same meal! Yes! A perfect solution! Or not. There I go again! Tangents! Hurry, let me tell you the recipe before I forget the point of this post.
The Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, 1 1/2 cups very warm tap water, 1 packet instant yeast, 2 tbsp. sugar in the raw, 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 to 1/3 cup molasses, 1-2 tsp. salt, 3 tbsp. softened butter.
Whisk together the yeast, water, and sugar in a small bowl. Let sit for five to ten minutes. Meanwhile, mix together flour(s) and the cocoa in the bowl of your stand mixer. When the yeast mixture is foamy, turn the mixer to 1 and add it slowly until fully incorporated (using the paddle attachment). Now add the honey, molasses, and softened butter. Mix on medium speed for a couple of minutes. Remove the paddle attachment and replace it with the dough hook. Add the salt and knead on 3 for 6 minutes. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Generously flour your counter-top or a cutting board and knead the dough by hand for a few additional minutes. Let it rise in your preheated oven for 90 minutes to an hour.
When the rising time is up, divide the dough into four equal balls. Shape these into four mini loaves. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. Cut a few slits across the top and let the loaves rest while your oven preheats to 350 degrees. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, remove from the oven, let the bread rest for about ten minutes, and spread generously with softened butter before serving.
Ohhhhhh….if only you could smell what I smell….
P.S. My hand is supposed to give you an idea of the size, I have small hands so this loaf is no bigger than six inches or so.