I feel like we’re long-lost friends finally meeting up for coffee after weeks of chaotic, um . . . chaos and total absorption in our own little worlds. And by that, I mean I’ve been totally absorbed in my own little world, and I have lots of friends with whom coffee dates and catch-ups are supremely necessary.
Forgive me for being the friend who’s gone missing.
And also, Dear Readers? Forgive me for my writing at this particular moment, because I think the part of my brain that gives good words is asleep. We’re doing our best this morning – me and my brain. I’m giving him lots of coffee (why my brain is a man today, I don’t know. Probably because I find him unreachable and perplexing right now. And sometimes stubborn. And he loads the dishwasher wrong.)
So what shall we talk about that doesn’t require lots of good words?
Yes, bread is always good, regardless of words.
And this bread is simple.
This bread is good, simple, healthy, and DELICIOUS.
Note the use of all caps in “DELICIOUS”. That is to emphasize the actual deliciousness of the bread. Because I lack other words. So I’ll capitalize on the accuracy of the one I have.(Heh! Capitalize. . . .)
So, the bread.
If you’re into whole grains, nuts, the slight sweetness of honey, and yeast bread that comes from your hands, in your kitchen, with minimal work, this is your new baby.
Hands-on time required will amount to about 10-15 minutes the first time around (not including rise time and baking time), but I’ve made it three times, and each time I shave a little time off the prep. (Total time will end up just under 2 hours).
This, my friends, is the way all many-grain (9 grain, 10 grain, 12 grain. . . whatevs) breads should taste. Soft, nutty, wheaty, healthy. . . FRESH.
Also? I must warn you – watch yourself when it comes out of the oven warm and fragrant. If you have a slab of butter near by, don’t consider your diet safe.
And, if your first loaf gets stuck in the pan and happens to come out in pieces, you might be tempted to curse the fact that you thought olive oil would create an apt enough anti-stick barrier, then you’ll forgive yourself and stand there with a gigantic hunk of tender, warm, nut-bread in one hand, a knife adorned with a generous blob of soft butter in the other hand, and all those pieces might end up smoothly dressed and on a one way trip to your mouth.
But if it does, and you do, and it does, don’t worry. You’ll enjoy it 100%.
Whole Wheat Honey Nut Bread
This bread is delightfully delicious and super healthy. It's packed with whole grains, nuts, and some nifty Omega 3's from the flaxseed. Consider using it for breakfast toast, open faced with eggs, spread with mashed avocado, or even just graced with butter and honey. It's also fantastic for sandwiches and alongside soup. If you are a calorie counter, cut your slices thin - this is a hearty and filling bread that lends itself to more calories than a typical store-bought loaf.
- 2 cups warm water (130 degrees F)
- 1 packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 3 cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 3 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I used "light tasting" olive oil so the flavor wouldn't overpower the bread)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
In a large, non-reactive bowl, add warm water and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let stand until the yeast is foamy - about 5 minutes. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, wheat germ, flaxseed, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and sea salt. Stir to combine.
Stir the olive oil, honey, and applesauce into the water and yeast mixture until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well. The dough will be dense and very sticky. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place or about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, line a 9"x5" loaf pan with parchment paper. (You could also grease liberally with butter, shortening, or coconut oil).
After 20 minutes, use the wooden spoon to fold the dough from the perimeter into the center of the bowl onto itself, rotating the bowl as you fold, for 2 minutes. This will knead the dough without getting your hands dirty, and it helps develop the gluten for nice, chewy bread.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Slightly wet your fingers with water and gently spread the dough to evenly fill the pan.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and return the pan to a warm spot for another 20 minutes.
Place the pan in the middle of the pre-heated oven and bake for about 50 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Turn the bread out onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper. When you give it a good tap on the bottom with your knuckle, it should sound hollow.
Allow to cool completely before slicing (Try!! It preserves the texture of the bread).
Store at room temp for up to 3 days. If you don't think you'll get through your whole loaf in 3 days, then slice the whole loaf, wrap well in plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag or Tupperware, and freeze half for later.
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