JMonkey’s Buttermilk and Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

June 18, 2009

Buttermilk and Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

Does it make sense to call a loaf “rugged”? Because that’s what would say about this bread: it’s simple and hearty and rugged, like a sandwich bread with character that won’t squish between your fingers like really soft, pillowy breads. I like the bit of twang that the buttermilk lends but at the same time, it’s balanced by the touch of sweetness from the honey, all in a 100% whole wheat loaf of bread.

JMonkey’s Buttermilk and Honey Whole-Wheat Sandwich Bread

from this post on The Fresh Loaf, adapted from The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book


– Whole wheat flour : 500 g or about 4 cups
– Salt: 10 g or 1.25 tsp
– Instant yeast: 3 g or 1 tsp
– Water: 185 g or ¾ cup + 1 Tbs
– Buttermilk: 185 g or ¾ cup + 1 Tbs*
– Honey: 42 g or 2 Tbs
– Unsalted butter: 14 g or 1 Tbs

*I substituted 185 g of milk with a bit of yogurt mixed into it (and let that stand for about 5-10 min) for the buttermilk.

Overall Formula

– Whole wheat flour: 100%
– Salt: 2%
– Instant yeast: 0.6%
– Water: 38%
– Buttermilk: 38%
– Honey: 8.4%
– Unsalted butter: 2.8%


Mix: Add the salt to the flour. Mix them thoroughly and then add the yeast, also mixing. Melt the butter and mix it with the buttermilk and water in a separate bowl. Add the water, buttermilk, melted butter and honey to the flour, mixing well until everything is hydrated.

I then kneaded this dough by hand until it was relatively smooth and slightly sticky but not very tacky. This will feel less smooth and a bit wetter than a dough made with all-purpose flour, but I tried to avoid adding more flour at this point because I didn’t want the loaf to become overly dense from using too much flour.

Bulk fermentation: 2 – 2.5 hours at room temperature, with a stretch-and-fold at the halfway mark.

Shaping: I shaped these into two sandwich loaves and placed them into 9″ x 5″ loaf pans (though 8.5″ x 4.5″ would probably be better).

Final rise: until slightly less than doubled.

Bake: 350F for about 50-55 min.

Great for toast sandwiches, but just as good untoasted with a bit of homemade plum jam.

Great for toast, especially with some homemade plum jam.

* * *

I’m sending this loaf to to Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting, and to JMonkey at The Fresh Loaf for sharing his version of this recipe in the first place. Thanks!


The deal with Bud: he’s [still] alive!

June 17, 2009

Sunday was Day 10 for the Amish Sweet Friendship Bread, as in the day when you share the yeasty baby with three friends. However, you’ve probably figured out by now that the cake on Day 10 didn’t get baked. Here’s what happened instead:

Day 3: Bud developed a alcoholic liquid layer a.k.a. hooch.


This means he’s not very happy. I stirred him down as per the instructions and tried to ignore the fact that he might be dying on me.

Day 4: more hooch 😦

At this point, I decided to try and switch Bud to a mix of 1/3 rye and 2/3 white flour in water in a ratio of 1:1:1 (starter:water:flour) by weight, the method that Susan of Wild Yeast describes for capturing a wild yeast starter.

Here’s Bud on a more healthy diet (instead of living on 1 cup flour + 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water every five days).


Morning of Day 5: he looks kind of… dead, except for one or two lonely bubbles.


I just kept feeding him roughly every 12 hours in the 1:1:1 ratio and hoped for the best.

End of Day 6:


Some more bubbles, but he still wasn’t doubling in volume every 12 hours like a healthy and active starter would. So I kept feeding him and prayed some more.

Then suddenly, on Day 9:


Bud pulled through! (The mark is how much starter there was after I fed him, and before I let him rise.) Ladies and gentlemen, we have a sourdough starter! I fed Bud twice more with the mix of rye and white flour, and tonight switched him to white flour only, but with more “food” (1:2:2 ratio, so there’s twice as much water and flour per part of starter) to see if he can still double in 12 hours or less. If Bud is still bubbling away happily tomorrow morning, then I can try him out in my very first bread recipe that calls for levain, or starter. Maybe some Norwich Sourdough?

*Note: for a more detailed description of how to capture a wild yeast starter, do visit Susan’s how-to post. The only difference in my case is that I used 20g starter : ~6 g rye flour + ~13 g white flour : 20 g water (1:1:1) instead of 75 g starter : 25 g rye flour + 50 g white flour : 75 g water that she uses; i.e., I’m just doing it on a slightly smaller scale.

oh no you di’n’t!

June 13, 2009

“…we’re gonna be arrested.”

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve watched this video of Paula Deen’s heart attack burgers. Hey, if they cut the Krispy Kreme doughnuts in half and only use half of one for each of the buns, it could be the diet version!

Then, of course, the next recipe she’s making is a fruit yogurt parfait. Nicely done.

dancing and science

June 6, 2009


Here’s a direct quote from the post:

…Besides gathering online responses, Dr. Bohannon also administered the quiz to eight live audiences in North America and Europe. For some reason — perhaps because they were more focused on the task — the live audiences were generally more accurate overall than the online audiences, although there were exceptions: a live audience at Harvard was less accurate than the online readers of Science, and did only about half as well as a live audience at the University of Vermont. I will leave it to others to explain Vermont’s superiority to Harvard, and whether it has more to do with dance or with science.

Bud – Day Two

June 6, 2009


Bud didn’t rise very much overnight.

I stirred him down with a chopstick and the foamy parts quickly sunk back to the level that it was at yesterday evening.

(I’m so tempted to discard most of it and then feed it 1:1:1 — 1 part starter, 1/3 part rye flour, 2/3 part white flour, and 1 part water by weight. Say what?)

* * *

Amish Sweet Friendship Bread, Jackie’s Way

started 06/05/09

Day 1     Do nothing with starter Degas starter (mash bag) and transfer to a clean mason jar with the lid loosely screwed on.
Day 2     Mash bag and let out air Stir down starter

meet my new friend, Bud

June 5, 2009


…erm, more like millions of Buds.

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can’t help but make it again

June 4, 2009

Pane al cioccolato

Pane al cioccolato

I’ve blogged about it twice already and yet here’s another.

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Hamelman’s Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

May 27, 2009

Hamelman's Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

Hamelman's Whole-Wheat Bread with a Multigrain Soaker

BBD#20 – Multigrain Breads hosted by Tangerine’s Kitchen

Update: the roundup has been posted!

My new favourite multigrain!

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Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

May 21, 2009


CLICK! May 2009: Cookies – hosted by Jugalbandi


Not perfectly formed, but absolutely delicious.

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Crusty garlic bread

May 17, 2009

Crusty Garlic Bread

Crusty garlic bread

My brother thought it was fine and dandy that I could make coffeecakes, scones, sandwich bread and soft rolls. “But could you make a crusty loaf of garlic bread? You know, the ones with a crispy crust?” he asked.

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