This lovely loaf has become one of my family’s favourites. It retains its freshness for many days on the counter and is delicious for sandwiches or toasted. The buttermilk gives it a unique flavour and the balance of whole wheat and white flours ensures the bread has some substance but is not too heavy. You can also shape this dough into smaller portions to make sandwich buns, but be sure to reduce the baking time to about 20 minutes. I am often asked what the internal temperature of bread should be when it is finished – I usually bake it to about 190F. These loaves also freeze beautifully, making it easier to keep a good supply of homemade bread on hand.
1 cup (250 mL) lukewarm water (about 110F)
4 teaspoons (20 mL) instant yeast
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1/3 cup (80 mL) white sugar
¼ cup (60 mL) vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
2 cups (500 mL) whole wheat flour
3 – 4 cups (500 – 750 mL) white flour
- In large mixing bowl or food processor, mix together warm water and yeast; let stand till foamy (about 5 minutes).
- When yeast has become active, add buttermilk, sugar, oil, eggs, salt and whole wheat flour (not white, yet).
- Stir or process to combine thoroughly then let stand, covered with a towel, for 10 minutes.
- Add 3 cups (750 mL) white flour in ½ cup increments, blending well after each addition. The dough will still be quite sticky.
- Knead with machine or by hand for 6 – 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic, adding up to 1 cup (250 mL) more white flour as needed to get it to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured counter and knead just enough to draw it together into a ball.
- Place kneaded dough in clean, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rise for 1 hour.
- Punch down dough; on a lightly floured surface, cut in half and shape into two loaves.
- Place loaves into two 5 x 9 inch (12.5 x 22.5 cm) bread pans (or line them with parchment paper).
- Let loaves rise, covered, for 45 – 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Heat oven to 375°F. While oven is heating, brush the tops of the loaves with about 1 tablespoon (15 mL)of buttermilk.
- Bake loaves for 28 – 33 minutes (190F with an instant read thermometer) then take out of pans and cool on a wire rack.