I have been making this recipe since I was a teenager. My friends, the Buchanan's mother was making this bread one day I went to visit and I was hooked. Not only was I hooked about the whole process of making bread, but I was hooked on this specific bread. Earthy but moist, sweet but not too sweet, perfect with just butter or in a sandwich.
This is a very simple recipe by bread standards. It is best done with a glass of wine and friends to share when it comes out of the oven. Have some cheese handy and some really great butter. I started making this bread in the Dominican Republic where I had no access to bread flour. Just regular white flour and whole wheat flour. So that is what I learned to use. When I was in school in Philadelphia, I learned about unbleached flour. I haven't used anything else since. I have also used bread flour. I haven't found an incredible difference. Not enough to worry about it. If you want to use it, by all means... But it isn't necessary.
It is best if you have a bread bowl. They are a must and every kitchen should have one. Big, thick ceramic bowls. And a nice, old, cotton towel to wet to cover the bowl with.
4 cup unbleached flour (I buy King Arthur, but any other will do)
2 1/2 cups whole wheat
2 pkgs. dry yeast (Fleishman's or whatever you can get)
1 tablespoons sea salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter or shortening
Mix 1 cup of the unbleached flour with the whole wheat flour, yeast, and salt in a mixer bowl. I use a KitchenAid mixer, but, when I was younger didn't have one and did it all by hand. It worked just as well.
Heat the milk, honey, water and shortening until it is warm but not hot. It has to he warm enough to activate the yeast, but not hot enough to kill it. You can microwave it. But, again, if you are a purist, use the stove.
Add liquid to the dry mixture. Mix together. Add the egg and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Reduce the speed to the slowest setting and slowly start adding about 2-3 cups of unbleached flour. It may be more or less the 2 cups.
If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer or something similar, you can knead it in the mixer. It will take about 3-4 minutes.
Or, if you are doing it by hand, you will be stirring in the flour very slowly until you realize you need to take it to the kneading board because it is very hard to stir in the mixer. Knead by hand for another 5 minutes. You will notice that the dough will be sticking to the palms of your hands. When the dough stops sticking to your palms, it is time to stop kneading.
Place in a greased bowl –I swirl some olive oil at the bottom of the bowl, place the dough in it, then pick it up, turn it upside down and place in the bowl again. This coats all sides with the oil.
Wet a dish towel in warm water. Wring out. Cover the bowl with it and let rise in your unlit oven, or a warm place away from draft for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or when the dough has doubled in size.
Punch the dough down.
Divide in half. I cut it with a knife. Roll each to 14 x 7" rectangles. Roll up tightly. This is the most important part. If it isn't done correctly, you will have air pockets in your bread. These are the wholes you get in bread sometimes that lets the mayo fall through. Not a good thing. Roll and pinch the dough together leaving no air pockets.Place, seam down, in well greased 9 x 5" loaf pans. (I use PAM or substitute) No Teflon, please. Let rise for 30 minutes or so, until doubled in size.
Bake at 375°F for about 35 minutes.
Turn out on cooling racks. Let cool before cutting. If you want softer crust, turn bread upside down on cooling rack.
We can't wait to eat this bread. A loaf will get attacked as soon as it is out of the oven.
The hard thing to do is to not eat the whole loaf!!!