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Whole Wheat Bread with Homemade Herbed Butter

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“Bread and butter”….is there a more classic food idiom?  It rolls off the tongue (“bread and buttah..”) and has come to express a variety of ideas, whether it’s a reference to your economic livlihood or an expression of written gratitude.  Okay, enough for the English lesson; back to cooking!  Who doesn’t love a good warm piece of bread smeared with good quality butter?  As promised in my post on Celery Soup with Leeks and Potatoes, I am sharing a bread recipe that I recently learned at The Seasoned Farmhouse.  It’s a delicious one pan bread which has been adapted from the internationally acclaimed French Chef Jacques Pepin’s “One Pot Bread.”  I was hesitant to mess with the recipe of such a legendary Chef but I was determined to try this bread with whole wheat flour. When asked, Tricia Wheeler of the Seasoned Farmhouse said it was certainly an option to use whole wheat flour but she wasn’t quite sure of the ratios, just that she knew you’d need to add a little extra water to account for the denser whole wheat flour.  As a lover and promoter of all things whole wheat, I decided this was my challenge.  If there is one thing I’ve learned experimenting with whole wheat flour, it’s that a little goes a long way to altering the consistency of your product.  The original recipe called for 5 ½ cups of all-purpose flour so I decided to try 4 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour.  I had no idea if this ratio would work out (I had loads of flour out and I was ready to make a few batches if it didn’t).  But to my surprise, it did!  It was the perfect amount of whole wheat to give the bread that healthy, grainy boost, but not too much to alter the flavor or consistency.  It still maintained that comfort food feel that you want from a slice of warm, crusty homemade bread.  Note that this recipe calls for you to prepare the dough, leave overnight and bake the following day.  Top the dough with sea salt, dried rosemary and olive oil for that yummy savory top crust.  This bread is perfect served with homemade herbed butter, dipped in olive oil along side a bowl of soup or sliced for a gourmet grilled cheese or Panini.

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Whole Wheat One Pan Bread (note this bread needs to sit overnight so plan ahead!)

Ingredients:

3 cups warm water plus extra 1-2 Tbsp

1 1/3 tsp dry yeast

4 tsp salt

4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

olive oil, course sea salt and dried herbs (I used gray salt and rosemary)

Directions:

Combine water, yeast and salt in a bowl and stir until dissolved.  Measure flours into a large mixing bowl.  Add water/yeast mixture and mix thoroughly.  Cover bowl with clean towel and leave at room temperature for about 1 hour.  Grease 13 x 9 inch pan (preferably non-stick).  With a spoon, mix dough well again, then scrape dough into greased pan.  Spread dough out evenly.  Cover pan tightly with foil, plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate overnight (I use a 13 x 9 brownie pan with lid and it works great!).  Preheat oven to 400 dgree. Remove pan from refrigerator, remove foil, plastic wrap or lid.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and dried herbs such as rosemary.  Bake about 30-35  minutes or until it is well browned.  Remove from pan and cool rack.  Best if served the day it is baked.

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Thanks to Tricia Wheeler,  I was inspired to make my own herb butter as well.  It’s much easier than you’d think and when you use the best quality whipping cream, you are sure to get the creamiest pure tasting butter you can find. Homemade bread and butter is certainly not something that I serve on a regular basis as I try to keep the carbs to a minimum but what a classic addition to any meal from a bowl of soup to a fancy, formal dinner party.

Homemade Herbed Butter

Ingredients:

heavy whipping cream (1 gallon will yield a lot of butter but it is fine to freeze)

kosher salt

fresh herbs (i.e. chives, parsley, basil)

squeeze of lemon (optional)

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Directions:

Using wire whisk attachment, whip heavy whipping cream on medium setting in KitchenAid mixer until it’s solids separate from it’s liquid.  The solids should be clinging to the mixing attachment and possibly the sides of the mixing bowl with the liquid pooling at the bottom of the bowl (appx 10-12 minutes — keep close watch on it).  Do not scrape the attachment or sides of bowl when the solids are clinging…you do not want the solids to mix back into the liquids.  Take out the solids and wring out the extra liquid in a clean towel.  Put in bowl and mix in salt and fresh herbs. Keep in a air tight container or roll into a log shape with plastic wrap.  Keeps about one week in the refrigerator or much longer in the freezer.

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Recipes adapted from Tricia Wheeler of The Seasoned Farmhouse (bread recipe adapted from Jacques Pepin’s “One Pot Bread”)