But THIS post, my friends, I am happy to say, is perfectly suitable for anyone who is UNINTERESTED in the whole freshly milled flour thing, because the recipe I'm going to give you today can easily be used with store bought flour.
So YAAAAAY for most of the rest of you bakers and wanna be bakers out there: this is NOT a hard recipe. This CAN be done. By YOU! Take it off your bucket list, get a new bag of King Arthur Whole Wheat flour from the grocery store (and not the opened bag that's been sitting on your shelf unused for months and months, and maybe more than a year!) and give this recipe a try!!! :-D
Before we get going, though, there is one more ingredient I'd like to discuss with you: freshly ground flax seed.
I've started adding freshly ground flax seed to my whole wheat bread. There are several things I think you should know about the importance of flax seed. The dietician at the hospital told us to be sure to use flax seed to help my dear husband, the Big Bison, raise his HDL: his healthy cholesterol. (The HDL carries the bad cholesterol out of your blood and to your liver, where your liver can dispose of it, instead of allowing it to build up in your veins and arteries.
And women, as we approach menopause, our HDL levels tend to plummet. Bummer, huh?) Flax seed has also been recommended lately as being helpful in treating perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Flax seed contains both lignans and alpha linolenicic acids, about which wikipedia says:
" Lignans are capable of binding to estrogen receptors and interfering with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen on breast tissue. Lignans are therefore being studied for their possible effects on breast, prostate and colon cancer. Lignans are also good antioxidants scavenging free radicals that are thought to play a role in many diseases."
So, as you can imagine, my husband and I are both interested in eating more flax seed, in smoothies as well as in our whole wheat bread. If you don't grind it, for the most part, the flax seeds will pass through your body without you gaining any nutritional benefit, except for the occasional seed that happens to get crunched by your teeth. The benefit that comes from the flax seed is found in the oil that comes from within the broken or ground seed, and the flax seeds need to be freshly milled, so that the oil doesn't have time to oxidize.
But wait a minute: and this is important. If you have a grain mill, you can't mill flax seed in it, according to my Nutrimill manufacturer. So if you want freshly milled flax seed, do it in your blender or VitaMix or in a coffee grinder that you've cleaned out or designated for grinding spices (thanks for that tip, Melissa!).
One other reminder: for this recipe you may use whatever sweetener you prefer. If you're opposed to sugar, substitute what you like (honey, agave nectar or whatever).
I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer to knead my bread, but you can certainly knead by hand if that is your preference.
Now, on to the long promised recipe. The basic framework of this recipe came from a recipe I found on Epicurious, but I have altered it to suit my family. If you try it, I believe you'll say it was worth the wait. I've tried many recipes, but this one is the best I have ever tried, and you don't even need to add vital wheat gluten (an extra ingredient that many recipes call for to help the bread rise).
Whole Wheat Boonie Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
1 3/4 cups warm water, (approximately 105º)
2 1/2 t. active dry yeast
1 t. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
1/4 c. warm water
5 to 6 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. freshly ground flax seed
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
1/2 c. canola oil
an egg wash, made by beating one egg white with 1 t. water
2 T. old fashioned rolled oats, for sprinkling on loaves of bread
In a pyrex mixing cup, stir together the 1 3/4 c. warm water, the 1 t. sugar, and the yeast. Let stand until yeast is bubbling, about 5 minutes.
In another mixing cup or small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 c. molasses and the 1/4 c. warm water. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment, stir together on low 2 c. of the flour, the sugar, flax seed and the salt. Pour in oil, and then the molasses and yeast mixtures. Stir well, and stop mixer to scrape bottom of bowl. Turn mixer back on low, and add enough of the remaining 3 to 4 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to form a soft dough. Turn mixer off and replace paddle attachment with dough hook. Knead dough on low for 10 minutes. Dough should have cleaned the side of the bowl, and be smooth and elastic. Shape dough into a ball.
Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and turn it to coat. Let rise, covered in plastic wrap, in a warm place, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. (I let mine rise in the oven with the light on.)
Punch dough down, and let rise another hour.
Preheat oven to 400º, and grease 2 loaf pans.
Divide dough ball in half. Form dough balls into oval loaves. Transfer loaves to pans, and let rise, covered with kitchen towels, 45 minutes. Brush tops of loaves lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with oats.
Bake loaves in middle of oven 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350º and bake loaves 20 to 25 minutes more, or until golden brown. Turn loaves out onto a rack to cool.
Just a few pictures, to illustrate the process.
|Yeast, fully proofed and foamy. On this day, I used a dark honey to help the yeast grow.|
|The dough is cleaning the side of the bowl: kneading is almost done.|
|Dough taken from mixer and placed in bowl to rise.|
|Dough fully risen|
|With cherry preserves. Get in my belly!!!|
What about YOU???
Do you think you can do this?
Do you WANT to do this?
Do you have any remaining questions?