This is an adaptation of an old Betty Crocker recipe from the 1956 cookbook. Basically I combined two recipes and added whole wheat and a little sugar, made a sponge (starter) and proceeded with my own technique for kneading and shaping. It came out beautifully with a fine moist crumb and a nice even crust all around and good flavor, and it toasts like a dream. Yummy. I think Hubby and I "tested" half a loaf. LOLOL
1FOR "NEW TO YEAST" BAKERS:
REMEMBER, YEAST BREADS ARE NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. BE ACCURATE IN MEASURING AND GO SLOWLY. YOU WILL GET TO LOVE THE FEEL OF BREAD DOUGH AND THE LUSCIOUS SCENT OF FRESH BREAD IN YOUR OVEN. NOW, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND PROCEED. :)
2In a medium mixing bowl, place warm water (about 105-110 degrees), yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Add softened butter, stir until melted and then add 1 c AP flour. Mix together well (should be a light to medium batter weight) Cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Let proof for 20 to 30 minutes until light and bubbly.
3Remove cover and stir in sugar, salt, whole wheat flour and 1 cup AP flour until it makes a shaggy, somewhat sticky dough. Gradually add more of the additional 1 cup of AP flour to the bowl, until the dough loses most of its stickiness, reserving some for flouring counter when kneading. Turn out onto a well floured counter and follow the following times for kneading.
4Knead 10 minutes, rest 10, knead 10, rest 10, knead 5. Cover with plastic wrap and warm towel for rest periods. By the time you have finished kneading cycles, you should have used about 1/2 or more of the additional AP flour, and have a pliable, but still slightly "bumpy and dimply" ball of dough. It will not have a smooth surface like white bread dough. Oil a bowl lightly, add dough ball, turn over to coat with oil and cover with plastic and towel to rise to double in a warm place.
I heated a cup of water in the microwave to boiling, removed it and then put the bread bowl in microwave to keep warm. Do NOT turn on the microwave while rising, just use the residual warmth of the hot water to keep it warm.
5Turn out on floured counter and knead a few times gently to deflate, press dough into 8x15 rectangle, roll and seal from long side. Should have log of dough about 15Lx3W. Place formed dough on parchment paper lined baking sheet, spray with Pam, cover with plastic wrap and towel. Keep in a warm area until risen double.
6Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
(Dock the loaf lightly for added oven spring.)
Bake 25 to 35 minutes until browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped. It depends on your oven how long it will need to get golden brown.
Remove from oven, brush with butter and let cool before slicing. (If possible).
7NOTE: "Docking" referred to above is simply cutting the top surface of the risen loaf to a shallow depth. You cut at an angle in several places to allow the bread to expand before the crust sets when placed in the oven, slightly increasing the size of the loaf. This step is not absolutely necessary, but will increase the lift your bread gets from the hot oven (Oven Spring). You must use a blade like an Exacto knife, be very gentle and rapid, and not cut too deep or you will deflate the dough.