So its breakfast time and I have a loaf of this bread to use for our morning toast. I am actually excited! Because with a dab of honey on the toasted bread, this makes for a heavenly repast when served with an easy-over egg and a small bowl of homemade granola topped with vanilla yogurt. And so our day begins.
Now I realize that the only reason you are reading this post is because you are either already a bread baker or have a passing interest in becoming a bread baker. Well let me tell you, this bread is just about as easy as it gets. No fancy ingredients, well if you don’t count the sourdough starter that is. But even then sourdough starter is no harder to take care of then say an older neighbor who occasionally asks you to come over and carry groceries into their house. Certainly it takes less time to care for a sourdough starter. (A sourdough starter doesn’t care if you talk to it even though it is alive and probably shows more zest for life than your elderly neighbor!) A simple feeding once a week is all it requires. And how difficult is that?
So if you are thinking about playing with sourdough, this is the bread for you. The recipe makes a fairly small loaf which is perfect for us. I cut the slices about 5/8-inch thick and toast them until they are quite brown. Then I don’t even use butter, just wonderful local or Turkish honey. The combination of the whole wheat flour in the bread and the honey on top is marvelous. And yes I know, I probably could use honey in the recipe, but I think maple syrup is perfect with the other ingredients. But by all means, use honey if you prefer. Honey would actually make perfect sense if you plan to serve it with honey on top like I do. But then, when have I ever made sense? And I’m much to set in my ways to start now! Hopefully there’s still hope for you.
- ½ c. lukewarm water
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 c. sourdough starter (easy recipe below)
- 1½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1¾ c. whole wheat flour
- ½ c. bread flour, or more as needed
- olive oil
Place the water, yeast, and maple syrup in the bowl of your stand mixer. Stir gently with your dough hook. Let proof for 15 minutes, or until foam appears on top.
Add the starter, salt, and whole wheat flour. Stir well with dough hook. Add enough bread flour to make a shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
Add additional bread flour if needed to form a smooth, slightly sticky, and springy dough. Knead for 3-4 minutes.
Once the dough has been kneaded, lightly grease the dough with a small amount of olive oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel. Let rise 90 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Punch down the dough. (The dough should be smooth and springy, but not too sticky at this point.)
Shape into a loaf and place in a parchment paper lined bread loaf pan (8.5 x 4.5-inches). Cover again with a tea towel and let rise for 75 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour water in a shallow oven-safe pan and place on the bottom rack of the stove. Just before placing the dough in the oven, make 2 or 3 cuts along the top of the loaf.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and firm. (If in doubt if the bread is done, take the breads temperature with an instant-read thermometer. It should read at least 190 degrees.) Remove from oven and turn out of the pan onto a wire rack. Let cool on the wire rack completely before slicing. Store loosely wrapped in plastic bag at room temperature. Absolutely wonderful toasted and slathered with butter and honey! Do not refrigerate. Will stay fresh for several days.
- 1 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 T. sugar
- 1½ tsp. active dry yeast
- 1 c. warm water
Combine all ingredients in a plastic juice pitcher using a wooden or plastic spoon. (Don’t worry about lumps because the little yeasty beasties will make short work of dissolving the lumps!) Cover with lid, turning strainer in lid to pouring lip. (This allows air to reach the starter.) Let ferment 3 days at room temperature, stirring several times daily. After the third day, transfer starter to a covered glass container and refrigerate.
To use, remove desired amount for recipe and replenish starter by stirring in equal amounts of flour and water or follow the instructions for the particular bread you are making. Let stand at room temperature overnight. Return to refrigerator.
If a clear liquid forms on top, stir back into starter. Every time you use, replenish with equal amounts of flour and water. Even if you don’t use every week, replenish every 7 – 10 days with equal amounts flour and water. (First remove about ½ cup of the existing starter. This allows room in your container for the new flour (yeast food) and water.) Use in any of your favorite bread, muffin, or pancake recipes.