Nothing beats a fresh baked loaf of bread on a cold winter day. We make this bread year round, but there is something special about a warm slice of hearty bread to accompany a big bowl of soup for a cozy winter meal. Plus, there just aren’t words to describe the amazing aroma that fills your kitchen when you have a fresh loaf of bread baking away in the oven.
This honey wheat bread is a favorite in our house. The honey makes it slightly sweet, while the whole wheat flour provides robustness and an almost nutty flavor. This bread is incredibly versatile, and the possibilities for delicious creations with it are endless!
Although I grew up making bread by hand, I discovered the bread machine about a decade ago. I’ve become slightly obsessed with it. It’s a healthy obsession, of course, so our bread machine definitely gets a lot of use and love. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the bread making process – kneading the dough, adjusting the flour to achieve the perfect stickiness, shaping it into loaves, and watching them rise and turn golden in the oven. Especially when making multiple loves or non-uniform breads (like cinnamon bread – a good one to add to the blog soon), I prefer to leave the bread machine on the shelf and let my hands do the work. However, there is definitely nothing shameful about using a bread machine for a basic, quality loaf of fresh bread. It is such a handy and helpful tool in the kitchen! You just put your ingredients in there, press the button, and poof! Three hours later, a glorious edible present awaits you.
I played around with a number of bread recipes to optimize this healthy bread. I wanted something with just a touch of sweetness that would be good for making sandwiches or toasting with a dollop of homemade orange marmalade. I have optimized this recipe for my 2 lb Breadman pro machine, but you can certainly modify the amounts for smaller bread machines.
Honey Wheat Bread
- 1 1/2 cups warm (110 F) water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons dry yeast
Even though it’s not critical when you’re using a bread machine, I like to heat the water in the microwave to about 110 degrees F. This means that it is warm to the touch, or you can boost your accuracy by using an instant read thermometer to verify the temperature. (Just don’t leave the thermometer in the water while zapping:-) Add the olive oil, honey, salt and flours, and place the yeast on top. With my machine, I prefer the results using the regular bread setting (normal cycle, normal crust and 2 lb loaf) rather than the whole wheat settings. After about 5 minutes, I like to use a spatula to scrape the excess flour off the sides of the pan to eliminate any flour marks on the outside of the final loaf.
Three hours and ten minutes later, take out the loaf, and let it cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Now comes the part you’ve been waiting for! Slice yourself a hearty piece of warm bread and add a spoonful of your favorite jam or jelly. Sarah would probably slather on lots and lots of almond butter or sunbutter. Butter is always a favorite in our house, as is dipping this bread in our favorite olive oil dipping sauce. Of course, you could also add your favorite ingredients for a wonderful sandwich or grilled cheese.
So, dig out your bread machine and make yourself a great tasting and reasonably healthy loaf of bread…enjoy!