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
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.