Honey-wheat bread

(After -- I think -- The Wooden Spoon Bread Book, by Marilyn Moore)

Combine in a large bowl:
  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons yeast

    Let yeast foam. Add:
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon or orange zest (optional)

    Beat 100 strokes. Cover and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir down and begin adding, slowly, up to:
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread or unbleached all-purpose flour

    As dough becomes too thick to stir, turn out onto a floured work surface and begin kneading, adding flour as necessary. Knead approximately 10 minutes to produce a smooth, elastic dough.

    Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning ball to oil its surface. Cover and let rise until at least doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

    Shape into three loaves (use oiled or buttered loaf pans if available). Cover again and let rise 45 minutes to an hour, until loaves have doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375.

    Before baking, brush tops of loaves with a mixture of:
  • White of one egg
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

    Top loaves with:
  • sesame or poppy seeds

    Bake at 375 degrees about 35 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers about 200 degrees. Remove loaves from pans and cool on a wire rack.

    BREADMAKING TIP: The best thing you can do for yourself if you intend to make bread regularly is find some good loaf pans (I have four "professional" loaf pans from Williams-Sonoma -- they're about $14 each -- and I swear by them), as well as a thermometer and a $2.50 plastic dough scraper, which you'll wonder how you ever lived without.