Now with step-by-step pictures and timeline!
This is a variation on the world's easiest bread; use 2 cups bread flour and one cup whole wheat flour. It's less dense than the 100% whole wheat version, and not as strong tasting as bread with a 24 hour rise time.
2 c. bread flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 t. salt
3/4 t. active dry yeast (the kind that says it's 'great for bread machines')
1 1/2 c. water
1 T. honey
olive oil (to grease pan)
cornmeal (optional-- to dust pan and add crunch to crust)
1. Mix dough (8:00 AM)
Takes five minutes or less.
In med-large size mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and yeast:
Add 1 1/2 c water and stir in with spoon; dough will form into a shaggy ball. If you need to, add more water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, and stir until it looks like this:
Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place for 8-10 hours or so until bubbly. It will look something like this when ready:
2. Second rise (6:00 PM)
Takes ten minutes, including preparing the pan.
Drizzle a tablespoon of honey across the top of the dough; stir in. The dough will be very stretchy, which will allow it to trap gas bubbles formed by the yeast and give the finished loaf a nice crumb structure.
(Apologies for the terrible picture; it's tricky to take a photo in bad light with one hand while stretching the dough with the other.) The stirring will punch down the dough; when it's back to being in a ball shape, just glop it into a greased loaf pan. I like to dust the pan and top of the dough with cornmeal, which makes it easier to remove the loaf from the pan and gives the finished bread a crunchier crust.
Cover the pan loosely with the plastic wrap, and put back in a warm spot for a couple of hours until the dough has doubled in size.
3. Bake bread (9:00 - 9:45 PM)
Takes less than a minute-- enough time to remove plastic wrap and put into oven.
Once your dough has risen a second time in the pan, it will look something like this:
Preheat oven to 350; bake for 45-50 minutes. Your house should smell amazing after about 20.
Remove from pan, cool on rack, enjoy!
Time from start to finish: 12-14 hours
Time spent actually doing anything with the dough: less than 15 minutes.