What’s better than fresh, homemade bread?
Maybe fresh, homemade bread with melty butter smooshed all over it.
This bread is the base for two Elizabethan recipes. I mixed my dough up the night before, let it rise in a warm place overnight, and then split it into two loaves the next day. I’ll be posting those separately. You could also just use this recipe for basic whole wheat bread.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.
Yields 2 loaves
2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet active dry yeast or 2 teaspoons instant yeast
5-6 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, yeast, and 2 cups whole wheat flour. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and let it stand 10 minutes, until bubbly.
Stir in the salt and vegetable oil.
Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time. When the dough holds together and most of the flour is mixed in, transfer it onto a clean, floured work surface.
Knead the dough. Sprinkle your hands and/or the work surface with just enough flour to prevent sticking. After 5 minutes, take a break and let the dough rest.
Knead the dough for a few more minutes. When you lightly press it with your fingertips, the dough should bounce right back. Put it into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Divide it in half, and form each half into whatever shape you like.
If you’ve made braids, rounds, baguette shapes, or other freeform loaves, place them on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise again for 30 to 60 minutes, until they look nicely puffy.
Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 375°F.
Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the loaves. If you’ve made rounds or baguettes, slash the tops several times with a sharp knife.
Bake the loaves for about 30 to 40 minutes, until their crust is golden brown and they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Cool completely before slicing. Store any leftovers, wrapped in plastic, for several days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.