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Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water in a large bowl; add the pinch of sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. If bubbles form the yeast is active and you may proceed with making the bread.
Add to the bowl containing the yeast the 2 1/2 cups very warm water, the honey, the butter, the salt and 3 1/2 cups of the whole wheat flour. Mix with electric mixer until a dough forms that begins to leave the sides of the bowl*. Add the remaining 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Stir in 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 cups of the bread flour. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead in the remaining 1/2 - 1 cup of the bread flour. Knead for 5-10 minutes.
*If your heavy-duty stand mixer has a dough hook, you may switch to that at the point you add the last of the whole wheat flour. If using the dough hook to knead, knead for 5 minutes after the last addition of the bread flour.
Put about 1 tsp of oil in a large bowl. Add the dough and coat the bottom of it with the oil. Turn dough oil side up and cover with greased plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free place to rise until double in bulk--about 30-45 minutes. I use the "oven rise" method since my house is drafty. To do this, turn on your oven and run for one minute after the heat begins to come up. Turn the oven off. This is the perfect temp for yeast dough rising. You may also put a pan of hot water under the bowl with the dough.
When dough is doubled in bulk, punch down and divide into 2 balls. Shape each ball into a loaf and place in a well-greased 9 x 5 x 4-inch or 8 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until double in bulk in a warm, draft-free place for 30-45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove plastic wrap from the pans and bake loaves for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Loaves should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Remove from pans immediately and cool completely on a rack.
Makes 2 loaves.