I have been searching for a recipe similar to this for a long time and I am sad to say it was right under my nose in my Esalen cookbook that I have had for many years! This recipe is so moist and wonderful and it uses 100% whole wheat flour so I feel good about eating it. I adapted the recipe by basting the top of the bread with butter before, during, and after baking which I think made the bread taste even better. Next time, using my Mom’s advice, I may try whipping up an egg and basting it on top of the bread before baking to try to achieve a more golden loaf. I suggest cutting the recipe in half if you aren’t feeding a lot of people as the bread tastes best for about 24 hours. I highly recommend serving this bread warm out of the oven with plenty of butter and jam! I can’t wait to try more bread recipes from my Esalen cookbook. If you are interested in the cookbook, here is a link to it on Amazon.
Makes: 2 loaves
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (preferably filtered or spring water)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup dry powdered milk
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 6 cups whole wheat flour
- 1-2 tablespoons softened butter (set it out at room temperature so it softens) for basting on top of the bread
- In a large-sized mixing bowl, add the warm water (ideally warm the water to 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit), honey, and yeast and whisk them to combine. Allow the yeast mixture to sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast has a thick foam on the surface.
- Add the powdered milk and sea salt to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Add the whole wheat 1 cup at a time stirring with a wooden spoon between additions. Once the dough is to the point where you can’t stir it anymore, place it on a floured surface (I use a clean counter) and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes to rest.
- After the dough has rested, knead the dough for 10 minutes adding additional flour as it becomes sticky.
- Place the dough in a clean well-oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or the dough has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen for an hour, turn it out onto a surface coated with a little flour and knead it for 2 minutes. Cut the dough in half and place it into 2 oiled bread pans. Cover the loaves with clean towels and allow them to rise for another 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the loaves are ready, brush them with some of the softened butter and place the loaves in the oven. Bake the bread for about 40 minutes or until the loaves have an internal temperature of 190-200 degrees F, basting them with more butter when the tops get dry. Once the bread is done, take it out of the oven and baste the tops with more butter. Serve the bread while it is still warm preferably with some jam and butter!
To reheat the bread later, I lightly toast it on a hot skillet.
Source: Esalen cookbook, by Charlie Cascio, 2006.