This Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread is nothing short of perfection. We savored every slice and you will too!
Recipe credit goes to Heather Zarrett who won “best whole wheat bread” and “best overall yeast bread” with it at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.
Heather accomplished a “perfect bake” with her Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread. The recipe is one she knows by heart. It is her go-to whenever she wants to whip up a whole wheat loaf. Also, it is based on a white bread loaf she uses as her starting point, or spring board to create new variations. We loved how perfectly it was baked. Just look at the inside texture. Wow.
The tall rectangular pan she uses gives her Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread a boxy appearance, a shape with clean lines that are squared off.
This blue ribbon baker is no stranger to winning. Heather has 50 award ribbons in her collection, all achieved at the Minnesota State Fair. The baking competitions there are referred to as the unofficial baking Olympics. With thousands of baking and cooking-related entries each year, it takes a lot of skill to stand out. We should note Heather also placed second in the “angel food cakes,” those sweet and airy sponge cakes we all love. Impressive!
Secret to Winning?!
Heather felt one of her secrets to her winning success is milling her own flour from wheat berries. It gives the bread an ideal taste, texture and aroma.
Heather gets her wheat berries from her local food co-op or from the Minnesota folks at Sunrise Flour Mill. She also noted to make sure your yeast is fresh.
Give this recipe a try. We got our first taste from a loaf still warm from the oven, smothered with butter. Our enjoyment continued by having a toasted slice with peanut butter. We even spoiled ourselves with a cubed avocado and an egg on top. Conclusion, home-baked blue ribbon bread makes everything taste better.
Blue Ribbon Wheat Bread
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup water, room temperature
2 cups (8 ounces) wheat flour
1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) bread flour
1 (1/4 ounce) packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 teaspoon salt
In a small pot, melt butter and then add honey, molasses, milk, and 3/4 cup water. Heat until warm. Add that mixture to the wheat flour in standing mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. In the meantime, combine sugar and 1/4 cup warm water. Add yeast and stir. Let it sit 5 minutes; will foam and double in size.
After the yeast is done, add it to the mixing bowl with the wheat mixture. Turn on mixer and slowly add the flour with salt (more or less flour might be needed, watch the dough) Knead the dough for 7-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. Turn out onto clean counter and shape into a smooth round ball. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 – 1 ½ hours.
Turn dough out onto a clean counter. Gently press into a 12×9-inch rectangle. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam-side down in a greased 9-inch loaf pan. Cover in plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place until it has nearly doubled in size 1 – 1 ½ hours.
Bake in a preheated 350⁰ oven for about 30 minutes. Flip the bread out onto a wire rack and let cool before slicing. Makes one 9 inch loaf.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Total time, beginning to end: 3-4 hours