Bread is and will always be a comfort food because carbs equals happiness. So why not make whole and hearty happiness rather than white and empty sadness In my eyes, bread should be made up of four basic ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt-not twenty mumbo jumbo words I can't pronounce. Plus, I would much rather endure the smell of fresh bread coming out of my oven than watch it move towards the grocery store checker on a conveyor belt. Plus, sometimes you have to face the facts.
Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread [Vegan]
- 1 cup warm water (100-105°F)
- 2 tablespoons molasses or raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons wheat bran (optional for dusting)
- Whisk together water, your choice of sugar, and yeast in a glass measuring cup. Let rest for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, vital wheat gluten, salt, flax seeds, quinoa, and oats.
- When the yeast is done activating, pour it over the flour and knead until a dough forms. Then, add the oil and continue kneading on a lightly floured surface for 15 minutes. Or. to speed up the process, mix in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook on medium speed for 6-7 minutes.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Then, continue kneading for an additional 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes using the dough hook.
- Lightly oil a medium bowl and form the dough into a ball, while keeping the top surface smooth. Place in the bowl and cover again with the damp cloth. Keep in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes.
- Prepare a medium sized loaf pan by greasing the sides and bottom with oil and lining the bottom of the pan with a square of parchment paper to ensure the bread's easy release.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface to shape. Press the dough into a rectangle with the short side facing you and fold the dough over itself twice, sealing with crease with the palm of your hand. tuck the sides under, and roll gently back and forth a couple times to fit the width of the pan. Place the shaped dough into the loaf pan with the seam down. Re-dampen the cloth and cover, setting the loaf pan back into a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- When the dough has doubled, use your hands to lightly dampen the top of the loaf with a few drops of water and sprinkle wheat bran and/or oats over the top. Very gently, pat them into the loaf to make sure they stick (To leave the load plain, this step may be skipped).
- Place pan into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden. Let cool completely before removing form the pan to slice.
Depending on the type of whole wheat flour you use, you may need to add a tablespoon of water at a time if the dough feels dry during the kneading process. If you do not have vital wheat gluten, you can omit it. However, the finished loaf may be a little more dense. If you omit the vital wheat gluten and want the fluffiness to remain, substitute half of the wheat flour in the recipe for bread flour. The loaf may be stored tightly wrapped on the counter for 2 days, in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Personally, I like to slice the bread prior to freezing, so I can defrost a piece at a time for sandwiches or toast.