Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunshine Wheat Bread

I will start by saying that I am not a baker.  I will always require a recipe for something baked and will generally not change much, if anything at all!  But I still want to share great recipes I find with you!

Many, many years ago during a visit to Colorado, the hubby and I made a trip up to Ft. Collins to tour the New Belgium Brewing Company.  At the time we were living on the East Coast and couldn't buy Fat Tire, or any New Belgium beer out there!  While visiting the brewery, I bought a very cute cookbook that was their first edition, called "Beer Gardening" - everything in the cookbook featured one of their beers as a key ingredient.  Best of all, it has a bicycle chain that helps keep the recipe cards in the book together! 

Admittedly, I haven't made anything out of this treasure in years, but stumbled across it the book and made their Sunshine Wheat Bread.  My boys tested it tonight straight out of the oven and fell in love....they asked to have it as their toast for breakfast and sandwiches in their lunch tomorrow.  I hope you enjoy!

Sunshine Wheat Bread
Makes 2 loaves

pinch of sugar
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup Sunshine Wheat
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups Sunshine Wheat
2 1/2 + cups white flour
2 1/2 + cups wheat flour

Proof the yeast by placing it in the 1/2 cup warm water.  Be sure the water is warm enough to activate the yeast but not too hot, or it will kill the yeast.  Add a pinch of sugar and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.  The yeast should begin to bubble and froth.  If this does not occur, your yeast has gone bad and the bread will not rise.  Start over with new yeast. 

Once the yeast has proven itself, add 1 cup Sunshine Wheat, 1 cup wheat flour and 1 cup white flour.  Stir well and cover with a damp cloth.  Allow the dough to rest and rise for one hour in a warm place. 

Add the melted butter, honey, salt and 1 1/2 cups Sunshine Wheat.  Stir well to combine.  Gradually stir in the remaining flour.  When it becomes too difficult to stir with a spoon, turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and work with your hands.  Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticky. 

Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes or until it has become smooth and elastic.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl.  Turn the dough once to coat with the oil.  cover and let rise for one our in a warm place.

Punch down the dough and divide into two.  If you want loaves, oil two bread pans.  Fold the dough so the surface is smooth and create a seam on the bottom.  Place the seam side down in the bread pans.  If you want round loaves, oil two cookie sheets.  Form two large rounds and place on the cookie sheets.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour. 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  For a softer crust, brush tops with butter when finished baking. 

Note:  After the dough has been divided, it may be wrapped in plastic and frozen.  The night before intended use, place dough in the refrigerator to thaw.  The next morning, let dough rise at room temperature for 30-60 minutes and continue with the last rise in the pans or on sheets.  Dough will keep for up to one week in the freezer and no more than one day in the refrigerator.

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