Baking Bread - Honey and Wholemeal

Some women love shopping for shoes.  Some go for designer handbags.  I buy flour!  I know, weird!

The truth is, I go to the actual watermills to buy my flour.  These watermills are usually located in ancient villages in the beautiful Devon countryside.  It's a great day out but when it comes to baking with the stone ground flour, you have to be a bit brave.  It's not like using supermarket brand flour.  The wheat is usually locally grown and organic, excellent.   But it's an unknown entity, especially when baking with wholemeal flour. You need to ease into the process or might find you have a solid block of bread, too coarse to consume.  

For this recipe, we are going to use a combination of white bread flour and a locally milled wholemeal flour from the Sidbury Watermill.  In a large mixing bowl combine the following:

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon runny honey
1 teaspoon dried yeast 
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 

Let this sit for about five minutes or until it starts to foam.  

Stir in 2 cups of white bread flour and 1 cup of wholemeal flour.  Add in more white bread flour, a little at a time, continue stirring until the dough becomes too stiff to stir.

Dust the work surface with more white bread flour, turn the dough out and begin to knead.  Continue to gradually add flour and knead until the dough becomes very smooth and elastic.  Place the kneaded dough into a greased bowl and cover with cling film.  Leave to rise until the dough has doubled in size.  

Grease two medium loaf pans. Punch down the dough, knead for a minute or two, then shape into two equal loaves.  Place the loaves into the greased loaf tins and let rise.  This should take about an hour or so.

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350C/190F oven, or until the crust is golden and the bread sounds hollow when tapped.   Turn out of the tins and cool on a wire rack.  

This ratio of wholemeal flour to white flour make a soft crumb.  You may like your bread a bit more 'wholemeal'.  Be brave, experiment and enjoy!