Honey Lemon Whole-Wheat Bread by Bernard Clayton

There's nothing like freshly-baked bread.  During these past few weeks I've been wanting to bake, but because of flour and yeast shortages at the supermarket, I have not been able to do so.  Finally, as if looking over the horizon onto an oasis, I found yeast at a local supermarket!  Wasting no time in bringing several packets home, I quickly assembled my ingredients for a nice loaf of bread.  

Freshly Baked Whole Wheat Bread

Bernard Clayton's book, 'New Complete Book of Breads', is my bread baking bible.  In it, there are dozens upon dozens of recipes covering different types of flours, grains and types of breads.  From quick breads to yeast risen breads, there is a little bit of everything for everyone.  

Bread Baking Mise en Place

I was looking at Clayton's whole wheat bread recipes, and decided to settle on the honey lemon whole wheat, which is found at the beginning of the chapter.  

I love deep jars for storing my flours.
Each jar has a dedicated enamelware spoon. 

The recipe is straightforward, easy to work with, and there aren't too many ingredients.  Although I made a few changes myself, the end results justified the means. 

Vintage enamelware spoons allow me to aerate the flour before measuring.

Note: the recipe is totally Bernard Clayton's, and the instructions below are for a stand mixer.  Also, he calls for a 2-24 rising period in the refrigerator, but I went with a 2 hour rise at room temperature.

Take a look!

My custom-colored commercial mixer by the Hobart Corporation is perfect for kneading doughs.

Honey Lemon Whole Wheat Bread by Bernard Clayton
  • 3 cups bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I used kosher)
  • 2-1/4 cups hot water (120°F- 130°F)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons shortening (I used 4 tablespoons unsalted butter), room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated or diced lemon peel (I used orange zest)
  • 2 to 3 cups whole-wheat flour, approximately
Equipment: Two 9x5" loaf pans or One large double bread pan (pan de mie).  Butter the pan(s) and place a piece of parchment paper at the bottom.

  1. In a large mixer bowl, combine the white flour, yeast, and salt.  Pour in the hot water.  Add the honey, shortening (or butter), and lemon peel (or orange peel).  Attach the paddle to the mixer and stir the dough on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape the bowl occasionally.
  2. Add 1 cup whole-wheat flour.  Beat at high speed for 1 minute.  The batter will be thick and rubberlike, and pull away from the bowl in strands.  Stop beating
  3. Stir in an additional 1 to 2 cups whole-wheat flour, depending on the moistness of the developing dough.  The dough should be elastic, soft and, at this stage, not overly sticky.  If the dough continues to be slack and moist (which it was in my case), add sprinkles of white flour.
  4. Change the attachment to a dough hook and knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding sprinkles of flour if dough sticks to the sides of the bowl.
  5. Stop the machine and remove the bowl from the mixer.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rest in the bowl for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for 30 seconds on a counter, pressing out air bubbles.  Divide into 2 pieces (if using two 9x5" loaf pans--if using large bread pan, leave intact).  Shape into balls and let rest for 4 minutes.
  7. Form each loaf by pressing ball under your palms or with a rolling pin into a flat oval, roughly the length of the baking pan.    Fold each oval in half, pinch the seam tightly to seal, tuck under ends, and place in the pan seam down.
  8. My version: If using a large pan de mie pan like I did, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface into a large snake, roughly the size of the baking pan.  Gently lift the dough and drop it into the prepared pan.
  9. Brush the surface of the dough with vegetable oil.  Cover the pans loosely with wax paper, and then with plastic wrap.  The loose covering allows the dough to rise above the level of the pan.
  10. Place pan in the refrigerator for 2-24 hours to double the volume.
  11. My version:  cover the bread pan loosely with a clean kitchen towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, and is slightly above the pan line (about 2 hours).
  12. Preheat the oven to 400F, and remove the pan from the refrigerator while the oven heats.
  13. Uncover the loaf (or loaves if baking in smaller pans), and bake on the lower rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes.  When loaves are brown and tapping the bottom crust yields a hard, hollow sound, they are done.
  14. Immediately remove bread from bread pans and allow to cool completely on a wire racks. 
  15. Devour.
This vintage bread pan was made by Wear-Ever.
It's considered an Angle Food Loaf Pan
and is approximately the equivalent of two 9x5" loaf pans.

The bread right out of the oven is perfectly brown and piping hot!

The crust is perfect.

It's best to let the entire loaf of bread cool on a wire rack before slicing into it.

But, I don't blame you if you find it hard to resist slicing into it while it's still warm.

Using a serrated bread knife is best for slicing the bread.  You can see what a delicious crumb and deep color it has.  The addition of honey adds a subtle sweetness that is thoroughly wholesome.

I remember when mom used to make us French toast with whole wheat bread.  My brothers and I always preferred it to homemade pancakes because we found it heartier.  The bread does make wonderful French toast, but it also makes a delicious savory sandwich, toast & jam, or a good old-fashioned peanut butter and jelly.  

This bread is phenomenal.  Bake some today if you have the ingredients!  Your family is going to thank you.