The Bread Snarfers

I am pretty confident that Tim and I could eat an entire loaf of freshly baked bread in a span of 24 hours. Obviously we aren’t that crazy, but over the weekend we came close to devouring not one, but two loaves of homemade bread. If it weren’t for all the healthy seeds and flours used to make the bread, I’d probably feel guilty for overindulging. But hey, we are dipping the bread in soups – it’s not like bread is the only component of our meals! That would be bad.

Last month, I shared several bread recipes with you. I have one more for the recipe files: Whole Wheat Bread.

This loaf is rolled in a medley of healthy toppings: sesame seeds, poppy seeds, golden flax seeds, oat bran, and wheat bran. I’m sure that sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds would be lovely too. The recipe is adapted from “Baking: Easy-to-Make Great Home Bakes” by Carole Clements.

Whole Wheat Bread

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup warm water, divided
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup wheat germ, optional
2 teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil (or oil of choice)
2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/4 – 1/3 cup mixed toppings (seeds, oats, bran, etc)

Directions:

1. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together 3/4 cup water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 5-10 minutes.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl) combine flours, wheat germ, and salt.
3. Add yeast mixture, remaining 1 cup of water, oil, and agave (or maple syrup) to flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. When you can no longer stir the dough, use your stand mixer or your hands and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Shape into a ball.
4. Lightly grease a large bowl with oil and place dough in bowl. Turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours.
5. Grease a standard-sized rectangular loaf pan (9″ x 5″) with oil and set aside.
6. Punch down dough, knead gently a few times, and shape the dough into a loaf that will fit into your loaf pan. Roll the dough in your toppings and place seam side down into prepared pan. Place in a plastic bag (making sure to fill the bag with air) and tie the bag shut. Allow the dough to rise for about an hour. Mine rose incredibly high and I feared it was going to collapse, so keep an eye on your dough!!!
7. During the last 30 minutes of rise time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
8.Once the dough has risen well above the rim of your loaf pan, place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. The loaf should be golden on top and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Allow to rest in pan for several minutes before transferring to a rack to completely cool.

Serve with soup if you must, just don’t spill the soup first:

Oooooooops!!!