Whole Grain Bread, Plain and Simple

Based on my recent posts, you'd think I just discovered bread. Well, I suppose I have. 

Typically a "now and again" breadmaker, I've begun to appreciate baking a loaf or two per week for my household. Not only is the taste very, very good, but there's a sense of accomplishment that I get from baking my own bread, and having the bread I baked in the house, that really can't be beat.

I have experimented further with my honey-wheat loaf and have come up with an even grainier variation, since I still had some of that hot cereal I used to make healthy-ish cookie bars

This bread is ever so slightly crumblier on the edges than its counterpart, but it still holds its shape for sandwiches or slicing, and has a nutty, wholesome flavor that is absolutely perfect when served warm.

Whole grain bread at home!

My favorite way of serving it? With a healthy pat of sweet cream butter and a sprinkling of sea salt (for some reason, unsalted butter with salt is a whole different thing than salted butter). This recipe is worth having on hand for your winter baking!

Whole grain bread at home!

Whole Grain Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Yield: 1 large loaf 

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill hot cereal
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk granules

 Procedure

  1. Combine the water and yeast. Once the yeast begins to bubble lightly, proceed.
  2. Mix all of the remaining ingredients with the yeast mixture in the order listed.
  3. Knead, either by hand with a dough scraper or with a stand mixer, until it has progressed past a shaggy texture to a solid, slightly sticky mass. This can take up to 5 minutes by hand; less when using a mixer. It will never quite take on the smooth elasticity of the honey-wheat variation of this bread, but the extra moisture is necessary as the whole grains will absorb it. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s quite puffy and doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Gently deflate the dough with your hand (a gentle pressing, not a knockout punch), and shape it into a fat 9″ log (it may still be slightly sticky; I used lightly oiled hands). Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.
  5. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 2 hours or even overnight, or until it has formed a crown which extends 1 inch or slightly more over the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  6. Bake the bread uncovered for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top, and when knocked lightly, yields a slightly hollow sound.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. Go ahead, give it a taste if you can’t resist (who can resist warm bread?). When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. 

Do you prefer salted or unsalted butter on your bread?