The smell of baking bread throughout the house is something that I will never tire of. It is comfort, it is home, it is mouth watering, and I have decided, completely worth the effort to make. There is something so rewarding about eating bread that your hands and your hands alone made.
I am no bread making master yet, but I did figure out this whole wheat recipe that is a great basic recipe and isn't too hard to make. I have big bread making dreams now that I have a little more understanding of how this homemade bread thing works. I'm hooked.
I told you last week this was either going to be a problem or the best thing I've done in the kitchen in a long time...well it's kind of both. I have this irresistible urge to slather honey butter on the first slice right out of the oven...so usually I do, which I guess could be considered a problem. But what's a girl to do when it's warm and calling for a honey butter bath?
On the other hand, it really is great bread with good for you ingredients, which makes it kind of the best thing too right? I had never really looked at the ingredients on my store bought loaf that I used to buy, I assumed if it said 100% whole wheat it was, not so much. I even started buying organic bread, but it was still always one ingredient at least that I couldn't pronounce...and bread is really simple, so there shouldn't be so many extras that are basically preservatives and additives that your body definitely does not need.
But for the real reason you are here...the long awaited recipe. Here it is! I hope it was worth your wait, it's pretty delicious.
- 1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water
- 1 Packet of Dry Active Yeast
- 2 Tbs. Honey
- 3 Tbs. Olive Oil (you can use coconut oil or butter here as well)
- 3 1/2 Cups King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 Tbs. Vital Wheat Gluten (I used Bob's Red Mill, and you can find it at Whole Food's and other select groceries)
- 2 Tbs. Ground Flax Meal
- 1/4 Cup Sunflower seeds or any other seeds you want to add (optional)
- 1 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- Preheat oven to 190-200 degrees. I do this so when my bread is rising on top of the stove, there is always a warm spot for it to hang out.
- In a small bowl, dissolve your honey in the warm water and then add your dry yeast and stir. Let sit in a warm spot for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
- While your yeast is activating, combine your flour, vital wheat gluten, ground flax meal, and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
- When your yeast is ready, add your olive oil and stir.
- Add your wet ingredients to your dry and combine with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough. You can also do this with your dough hook and a mixer.
- In a warm spot (top of the stove), let the dough rest for 20 minutes, covered with a dish towel.
- If doing by hand, lightly flour a clean surface and transfer the dough to the surface from it's bowl.
- By hand you will want to knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. I like to form the dough in a ball, and then flatten out using the palm of my hand and then fold back towards me and start over. Again you can use your mixer with a dough hook and you will mix for about 10 minutes.
- Once your dough is smooth, form into a ball and place into a large bowl that has been oiled (so the bread won't stick after it rises.)
- Place it back in it's warm spot and cover. Let rise for 1-2 hours until bread has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, get your bread pan and spray with nonstick spray. Deflate your dough, and then form into the shape of a loaf. Place inside your bread pan and put back in the warm spot and cover. Let rise for another 30 minutes to one hour until the bread has risen over the bread pan. Halfway through the rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush the top of the loaf gently with milk and sprinkle with oats and extra sunflower seeds, this is an optional step as well, but it makes it really pretty!
- Bake for 40-45 minutes until top of bread is golden brown and when you tap on the top of the bread it sounds hollow.
And maybe, just maybe you will have more will power than me and can resist slathering the first slice with butter...or maybe you will be like me and slather that baby up and enjoy your hard work, after all you earned it.
To all my bread loving peeps out there, I can't wait for you to try this recipe and let me know all about it...I am dying to know if you become just as hooked as I am!
Recipe adapted from Cooking for Seven.