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Author Notes: When our family health kick was challenged by a bout of fried chicken, my sisters and I ran off to Panera to try to temper the impending damage, and there we discovered their heavenly honey-wheat bread. But even perfection has room for improvement – our version has more flavor and more whole wheat, while still retaining their perfect pillowy quality. You'd never guess this was a whole wheat bread – we actually can't stop eating it. If you're new to bread making, check out our detailed tutorial at www.figtestkitchen.com —Fig Test Kitchen
Makes 20 servings
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup water, room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 3/4 cup water, room temperature
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 ounces vegetable shortening (about 1/4 cup)
- 4 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Make starter first, by whisking yeast into water, and then whisking in flour. Cover with dish towel or plastic wrap, and leave to ferment for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Meanwhile measure out other ingredients, and whisk flour and salt together in a large bowl.
- When starter is done fermenting, whisk honey and water together in the bowl of a kitchenaid mixer.
- Add shortening, yeast, flour-salt mixture and starter to bowl. Mix on low (setting #2) with a dough hook attachment for 1 to 1.5 minutes, until it forms a rough dough. Let rest for 20 minutes.
- Cover dough with a warm, moist towel and let rise in a warm area for about 40 minutes.
- If you plan on baking dough in loaf pans, transfer each dough to one loaf pan now. You can also bake the dough directly on a sheet pan (with a layer of parchment paper underneath so it won't stick) if you don't have a loaf pan.
- Preheat oven to 350°F convection/375° conventional, and let dough rise for about 45 more minutes, covering again with a moist, warm towel and letting rise in a warm area.
- Place bread in heated oven, and let bake for about 25-35 minutes (25 if not using a loaf pan, closer to 35 if you are) or until a thermometer inserted into the center reads 190-200°F.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes, slice, and eat!