Here's a very easy and versatile whole grain bread recipe.
Wholegrain bread is quite easy to make, with or without a breadmaker.
Whole grain bread is a staple food in our house.
I've abandoned my breadmaker since it took up so much space in the kitchen and I'm now trying to integrate regular breadmaking into the day's activities. Why? You may well ask, seeing as it just adds another "chore" to a full day!
One reasons is for the enjoyment of the process. Mixing, kneading and pounding is quite a good kind of activity which gives one time to pause and take things a little slow. And the exercise is good, not just for keeping hands and wrists strong and supple. If you stand upright, feet planted squarely, kneading whole grain bread can become a valuable whole body exercise. Just make sure that your hips, legs and back become part of the movement. This way, your whole grain bread recipe can help you stay fit as well as providing you with tasty fresh loaves!
It's not for everyone, I know, but the scent of homemade bread in the kitchen is always tantalising.
Whole grain bread recipes vary, but any bread made with a whole, unrefined grain or grains can be considered to be whole grain bread. You can make a breads from any of the following grains: Wheat, barley, rye, oats, even rice.
You can also make breads from a combination of different grains.
Oats, for example, are a wonderful addition to whole wheat.
Rye flour is great mixed with other grains. Many people find it a little too strongly flavoured by itself. Have a look at this page on rye flour if you want to read up on it. Here is a recipe for making rye bread though it isn't strictly wholegrain as I use some white flour to make a lighter loaf.
Even millet and buckwheat can find a place in some kitchens. Buckwheat, (in case you haven't tried it) is rather potent-tasting and not to everyone's taste by a long chalk. Millet, on the other hand, is rather bland.
Low gluten breads
Most non-wheat flours tend to be quite low in gluten, which is an advantage to anyone who has an allergy or an intolerance to this common protein. "Spelt" flour is relatively low in gluten. If you have serious problems with gluten it is worth seeking gluten-free alternatives. You can buy gluten free products of all kinds here at glutenfree.com.
If you have no problem with gluten, you might want to add a strong wheat flour in with whatever else you use in your whole grain bread recipe.
There is nothing wrong with adding white bread flour as a proportion of the flour used in your whole grain bread recipe. Some people find this easier to digest. If you use quality organic flours you are still getting solid nutrition, especially if your diet is otherwise excellent. It makes sense to make sure you get plenty of foods rich in vitamin B and vitamin E if you are cutting your wholemeal flour consumption right down.
Here's how to make a good whole grain loaf:
You can select your grains from the list above.
First, make sure that your kitchen is reasonably warm and draught-free. This helps the proving process. The yeast will grow slowly if it is too cold.
However, if your kitchen is rather chilly, don't let that put you off; bread dough will rise eventually in almost any temperature above freezing. You just need to allow longer for the rise.
Some people deliberately slow the rise because it yields a better flavour. You can even let bread dough prove in the fridge if you want!
Whole grain flour 1 1/2 pounds (approx)
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar (you can use honey)
1 dessertspoon of oil (vegetable, corn or olive)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste (you can use low salt, if preferred)
Water - preferably filtered, 500ml or just over 3/4 pint
Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Let the flour warm in a bowl for an hour before beginning.
Add the yeast and sugar to the water. Stir well and set aside for about 15 minutes, or until the mixture becomes frothy.
Pour the yeast mix into the flour: make a well in the centre of the flour and gradually mix in the yeast mixture. Mix as well as you can with a spoon of fork.
Now use your hands to shape and mix the dough. Once you have a smoothish ball of dough you can start kneading. If the dough is too wet it will continue sticking to your hands. Too dry and it will crumble. Add a little more water or flour to correct either of these problems.
Kneading, is perhaps the most important stage of the whole grain bread recipe.
On a clean board or work surface push and stretch and roll your ball of dough. Open out the middle with your fingers or your knuckles and then fold the ball over on itself to let air into the mix. Push and roll it back into a ball shape. This will help the bread to rise properly.
Carry on doing all of this repeatedly until the ball of dough is elastic feeling and easy to work. (5-10 minutes)
Now set the dough aside in the bowl and cover it with a damp clean cloth. It will take anything from half an hour to several hours to double in size. I often find it takes a lot longer to rise than suggested on the yeast packet. The fresher the yeast the better for a fast rise. You can leave it overnight to rise if you like so that you don't feel like you are waiting. Just make sure that it's covered with a damp cloth to prevent drying out of the top.
When it has risen take it out, knock it back down to get the air out of it and repeat the first kneading stage again. You don't usually need to do it so long the second time. Just make sure that it is elastic and workable.
Now cut or pull the dough into pieces for your bread tins. Place the dough into each tin (brush with a little oil first to prevent sticking). You can also fashion a round loaf and bake it on a greased baking tray.
Leave the bread dough to rise a second time, until it has approximately doubled in size. When nearly there, heat the oven to gas mark 7 (200 Centigrade).
Bake the loaves for about 25 - 40 minutes depending on size. Check the bottom of the loaf if you knock on it with your index finger knuckle it should sound firm and hollow.If the loaves appear cooked on the top but are doughy on the under side just turn them out of their tins and cook upside down for a few minutes.
It's important not to overcook your homemade bread if you don't want to build walls with it! I've made many a brick myself. If you haven't got a timer in your head, then use a kitchen clock or timer or get someone to yell at you that it's time to release the bread. If you live in the modern world, you can, of course set your mobile phone to remind you! It makes all the difference.
Here are few ways to spice up your whole grain bread recipe:
As well as using a variety of different flours, why not try adding some seeds or herbs to your bread? Suitable seeds include poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Herbs can include any you like but a hint of thyme or rosemary is quite agreeable. Chopped olives are also very nice.
If you are not impatient to have fresh bread, you can omit the sugar from the recipe and let the dough rise more slowly, just using the natural sugars in the flour. I usually prefer to do this as the resulting bread tends to be more tasty. You can also slow the rise further by leaving the dough in a relatively cool place. Some people even let the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours!
Whatever method you employ, there is no substitute for really good quality flour, preferably organic.
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Other pages related to whole grain bread and bread recipes which may interest you:
An Everyday Whole Grain Bread Recipe Copyright Greenfootsteps.com 2008
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