This is an easy bread to make, and it smells fantastic when it's baking.
If you'd rather use a stand mixer, fit it with a dough hook and knead at medium speed for 6 to 8 minutes.
Make Ahead: This is a double-rise dough that needs 2 to 3 hours' resting time.
Yield: Makes 1 loaf
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water (no hotter than 115 degrees)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1/4-ounce packet) active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, plus more for greasing the bowl
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- Oil or butter, for greasing the loaf pan
Place the lukewarm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the hot water, honey, shortening and salt in a large bowl, stirring until the honey and shortening have melted. Let cool until lukewarm, then add the yeast mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of the sifted (unbleached all-purpose) flour; beat until well combined.
Add the remaining cup of sifted flour and enough of the remaining whole-wheat flour to make a moderately stiff dough.
Generously flour a work surface; turn the dough out onto it and knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth and elastic.
Transfer the dough to a well-greased bowl, turn once and let it stand, covered, in a warm place away from drafts for 1 to 1/2 hours (depending on how warm your kitchen is) or until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough.
Use a little shortening to grease a large bowl, then transfer the dough to it. Cover and let stand in a warm place away from drafts for 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a newly floured surface; form into a ball. Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Use oil or butter to generously grease a standard-size loaf pan.
Shape the dough into a loaf and place it in the prepared loaf pan. Cover and let it rest for 30 to 45 minutes, until doubled in bulk.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the loaf for 35 to 45 minutes (start checking after 35 minutes) or until golden brown; it should sound hollow when tapped.
Remove the loaf from the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool almost completely before serving.
From Frank Morales, executive chef at Rustico in Alexandria.
Tested by Danielle Newman.
Email questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.