Honey Wheat Bread with Optional Sourdough Discard produces a slightly sweet, wheat-y loaf. Great as a side, for toast or sandwich bread.
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Sourdough is big. And although I admire bakers who regularly create perfectly folded and turned loaves, I have yet to master this.
Yes, I am a second kind of sourdough baker. The type that uses sourdough discard with the addition of yeast to make baked goods. This way you get some of the sourdough flavor… but with no more effort than ordinary breads or baked goods. And having a collection of sourdough discard bread recipes helps you use up the starter.
Today’s recipe is based on a homemade bread that I’ve been baking for years, adapted from a Red Star Yeast cookbook. I thought it was the best whole wheat bread recipe I had ever tried so I was motivated to adapt the recipe, with three goals. First, I needed use up my starter, which multiplies incessantly. Second, I hoped to add even more flavor to an already tasty recipe, and third I wanted to cut down this recipe to make a single sandwich loaf.
The resulting bread had all the honey-sweet, wheat-y goodness of the original with a hint of sourdough flavor and a bit more lightness! Talk about exceeding expectations!
Why You’ll Love This!
Tasty. The honey and whole wheat flavors complement each other perfectly, making this a flavorful and appealing bread. And even though it’s 100% whole wheat, it’s light and moist.
Healthy. This is a 100% whole wheat bread (other than a smidge of all purpose in the sourdough discard when I use that), so is healthier than many other options that are half white flour.
Can Use Sourdough Discard. Do you feel you’re always contending with a mountain of sourdough discard? Well there’s nothing like a good sourdough discard bread to help you get through it!
What You’ll Need
- Honey. This adds sweetness and provides food for the yeast.
- Yeast. This helps the bread rise and lighten.
- Oil. This adds moisture and delays staling.
- Sourdough Discard. This helps the bread rise and lighten, and adds flavor. You can also use additional flour and water.
- Whole Wheat Flour. This provides volume and structure.
- Salt. This moderates the rising, enhances flavor and reduces bitterness.
A stand mixer is nice but not a requirement.
Step by Step Highlights
Combine water, honey and oil and yeast to proof at around 110 F (lukewarm)
What is Proofing?
In bread-making the term “proof” is used to refer to two different processes. The first is to “proof the yeast,” where you dissolve yeast in water plus sugar to activate and test it. The second is to “proof the bread (or dough)” in which case you let the dough rise and lighten.
Now some people consider proofing yeast a little out of date. Originally this served dual purposes—to dissolve the dried yeast and to make sure that it was still alive. Today’s yeast (versus the 80s when I learned to bake), is milled smaller and dissolves more easily so proofing the yeast is less important.
But I buy my yeast in bulk (much more economical than the packets), and sometimes the last bits will have gone bad (albeit rarely), so I still proof my yeast to be extra sure it will work.
How to Serve
This works well as a honey wheat sandwich bread and is especially good with any type of filling that can handle a little sweetness. Ham and PB&J are two of my favorites. And it’s delicious as whole wheat toast–even better topped with peanut butter. In that case I always add a glass of milk!
My other favorite way to eat this is to cut a slice, sprinkle it with garlic powder, top with sliced or grated sharp cheddar, then broil to melt the cheese. It’s so tasty–and then I get some calcium with my whole grain!
It also has enough flavor to stand on it’s own. It is good with a smear of butter or even plain. And it makes a wonderful starchy side at dinner time.
Tips & FAQs
Can I lighten the recipe with some all purpose flour? You could but you don’t really need to. If fact when the original recipe won a prize (in a general bread category at the Wisconsin State Fair), the judge noted that it was amazingly light for a 100% wheat bread. Yes, it even beat out a number of lofty white breads!
But if you really feel you must, I recommend that you go with half white whole wheat flour instead of half all-purpose to retain more nutrition.
Do I need a stand mixer? You don’t need a stand mixer for this bread, though it is nice. Originally, I used a hand mixer then finished the dough by kneading by hand. This is a good option for someone on a budget or who doesn’t cook a lot. If you are more active in the kitchen and can afford it, a good freestanding mixer is a joy!
- Honey Wheat Bread with Optional Sourdough Discard from Art of Natural Living
- Orange Sourdough Casserole Bread from That Recipe
- White, Whole Rye, and Whole Wheat Sourdough from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pretzel Rolls with Sourdough Discard Option from Art of Natural Living.
Honey Wheat Bread with Optional Sourdough Discard
- 1/2 cup water
- ¼ c honey
- 2 T oil
- 1 scant T yeast 1 individual packet
- 1 cup sourdough starter see note for sub
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Combine water, honey and oil and heat to about 110 F. Dissolve yeast in mixture and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour, sourdough discard and salt to mixer bowl, then pour in yeast mixture. Mix with dough hook until you have a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead in the machine for 5-10 minutes until dough pushes back/doesn't dent when pressed. Add a little additional water or flour if needed to make a nice consistency.
- Cover dough with a wet dish towel and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1-2 hours.
- Spray an 8 x 4 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Punch down dough then form into a loaf and place in pan.
- Let rise until almost double, about 30-45 minutes.
- Bake 30 minutes at 350 F until golden. Remove from pan to cool.
Updated from the Jun 6, 2021 post
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