Treat yourself, friends and family to the Zen practice of baking
your own delicious bread.
Bread baking fills your home with a mouthwatering aroma. Slather your bread with honey or jams while it’s warm and fresh out of the oven. It is an art to share and appreciate. Delectable bread starts with a several basic quality ingredients, a few good habits and a little patience. Let’s begin with a very simple recipe and develop it into a recipe you will want to make time and time again.
Basic Whole Wheat Recipe:
2 2/3 Cup Premium Whole Wheat Flour
1⁄2 Cup Rolled Oats ground into flour
2 1⁄2 TSP Quick Rise Yeast
1 1⁄2 TSP Sea Salt
4 TBS Honey
1⁄4 Cup Orange Juice
3⁄4 Cup Warm Water (about 104*F)
4 TBS Vital Wheat Gluten (This will help lift the nuts and seeds we are about to add)
Creating a healthy whole grain bread requires ingredients that add nutritional value. Whole flax and millet are often found in multi-grain breads. Unfortunately, the seeds cannot be digested. Our bodies process the seeds whole. Therefore, there is no health benefit to adding whole millet or whole flax. Grinding flax into a meal, however, allows you to absorb all of its wonderful, healthy properties. Flax has a perfect Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. It is also high in fiber, abundant in minerals and several vitamins. Flax meal adds to the nutty flavor of the bread. It also adds fat. We should keep that in mind as we add other nuts and or seeds. Another seed that will add to the nutritional value of our Whole Grain Bread is the pumpkin seed.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein and valuable source of zinc and magnesium.
Sunflower seeds are similar and can replace Pumpkin seeds. You should choose one or the other as Pumpkin and Sunflower seeds add additional fat to your bread.
Whole Rolled Oats is a whole grain, high in fiber, low in fat, and a good source of minerals and protein. This is an excellent whole grain to add to our bread.
Our last addition will be a variety of nut. Pecan or walnuts have the best nutritional profile. I will choose walnuts, as that is what I have on hand. Walnuts, like flax, have a desired Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio. They are also a great source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Walnuts, again, add fat. If we continue to add nuts and seeds, we come to a tipping point of healthy vs. unhealthy. The bread will contain much too much fat. We have chosen several seeds, a second whole grain, and a nut that are most nutritionally valuable.
Our remaining ingredients will be:
1/3 Cup Whole Rolled Oats
1/2 Cup Flax Meal
1/3 Cup Roasted and lightly salted Pumpkin Seeds
1/3 Cup Walnut pieces
Begin by pouring the warm water, honey and yeast into your mixing bowl. Mix gently and let it rest a minute or two until foamy. Once foamy, you know your yeast is working and is ready. Add 1 1/3 Cup of flour to the mixture and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes to incorporate air. Let this mixture sit for 30 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (all but a small amount of oats, seeds and walnuts). Knead with dough hook in your mixing bowl for 5 minutes.
When ingredients are well incorporated, form a ball, roll top of ball in the saved ingredients and place in a large, very lightly oiled bowl to rise 1 1⁄2 hour. Punch dough down and reform into a ball by stretching the edges slightly out and pushing them under into the bottom center of the dough until it is nicely rounded. Place on baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or covered with parchment paper, cut shallow diamonds into the top and allow the dough to rise until double, about an hour.
Start with a cold oven, which allows the bread rise completely before crusting. Let the oven heat to 400*F then reduce the temperature to 375*F. Add a pan of boiling water to the oven. This also allows the bread to rise beautifully before the outside hardens. Bake your loaf approximately 40 minutes until golden brown. It will sound hollow when tapped. The internal temperature should be 200*F.
This bread is beautifully dense and develops a deep brown crust. The mellow complex flavor is scrumptious with honey or jam.