100% Whole Wheat Bread

Dec 11th

True story – when you buy “wheat” bread at the grocery store, all it’s saying is that it’s made from the wheat plant. That wheat is stripped and processed, yielding a flour made mostly from the white fluffy inside of a wheat kernel (called the endosperm). By removing the bran and the germ the flour becomes devoid of most nutrients. Look on the ingredients list – unless you read “whole” in the first three words, the product is not whole grain. Even store-bought whole wheat bread has several unpronounceable ingredients. Can we bypass those unknowns? You bet we can.

More bread baking! If you remember, I posted a cinnamon raisin bread last week. I made this whole wheat bread at the same time and even baked them at the same time and temperature. Though my husband devoured the (less nutritious but sweeter) cinnamon bread in about 24 hours, this whole wheat bread made me very, very happy for several days. I fed it to my daughter toasted and smeared with almond butter and I made a mean tuna melt for dinner with it. It was tender, complex in flavor, and lighter than other whole wheat breads I’ve had in the past.

I’ve said this before, but there’s nothing like making your own bread. My friend Miriam is from Germany and she said that instead of standing mixers, Germans have bread slicers. They make their own bread – kneaded by hand – almost daily. Dinners are homemade, rustic whole grain breads with meats and cheeses. Yum. We talked bread recipes and I felt embarrassed that I don’t know the metric system, like, at all. Anyways – this bread would be perfect with a big bowl of Sunday soup.

100% Whole Wheat Bread

1 (10 inch) Loaf

Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour Flour Cook Book

1 1/2 c. water

3 tbsp. olive oil

5 tbsp. honey

3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1/4 c. sunflower seeds, finely chopped

1/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast

1. In a large mixing bowl or bowl of a standing mixer, combine all of the ingredients. Either stir with a wooden mixing spoon or stir with paddle attachment.

2. Let dough rest for 20 minutes.

3. Switch to dough hook on electric mixer and knead dough for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a standing mixer, knead by hand for 10-15 minutes. This will result in a smaller, denser loaf.

4. Grease a large mixing bowl with nonstick spray and let dough rise inside (covered tightly with plastic wrap) for 1 hour at room temperature.

5. Shape into a rough log and place in a lightly greased 9 inch loaf pan. Cover the loaf pan with plastic wrap and let rest 1 hour at room temperature.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake bread for 45-55 minutes or until set in the top center.

7. Remove from oven, turn out bread from pan, and let cool completely on wire rack.

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