This is the least “free” recipe I have posted on this site. Usually I post only gluten free, paleo, or vegan recipes, but here is one that I have developed and posted with my hubby on my heart.
And I have to say, I am insanely proud of this bread. Maybe because after making bread for 2 years, my husband has finally said “Yeah, this is really good!” with no additional comments like, “Is there any salt in this?” “This is quite sweet,” “It’s kind of wet…” or, “Did you do something different this time?”
Bless his heart.
It’s been quite an adventure, full of heartaches, trials and tears, but I’ve made it. I’ve managed to create a beautiful loaf of wholemeal bread that my hubby whole-heartedly approves of.
I generally do not eat bread. The stuff does not agree with me so well and without it I find it easier to stay awake and keep the junk-off-my-trunk. My ever-carb-lovin’ husband, however, is a totally different story. He loves the stuff—and I love him. Very much.
The dilemma I find myself in is that whenever I buy the stuff from the supermarket for him I kind of die a little inside. I mean, why does bread have to have 30 ingredients, a quarter of them being some kind of sweetener (do we really need honey, refined sugar AND molasses all in one loaf?), and half of them which I cannot pronounce or don’t fully understand (calcium proprionate and “permitted food stabilisers,” anyone?)?
So, of course, for the love of my husband and all things made without preservatives, I had to give the bread-baking thing one more try; hence my decision to bake bread.
Grandma-style. From scratch. Without a bread-maker.
The problem was that I had never made a successful bread loaf, and truth be told I was absolutely terrified of trying! Was it just the former bread-baking-o-phobic me, or does baking bread seem really ambitious? Anyone?!
To m, at least, it was an incredibly daunting prospect. Beginning to bake a loaf of bread sounded like the equivalent of signing away a day of my life, and there seemed to be so many things that could go wrong. All the recipes seemed so precise and full of lengthy instructions. I just do not do precise.
So, I started with this recipe. It was okay for a start, and built up my confidence. I loved the un-preciseness of it all, but it is a recipe for white bread, and my hubby prefers wholemeal.
Then I went on to this one. This was better, and insanely easy (a pre-requisite so far as I am concerned!)–but was still not perfect according to the hubs.
So then I tweaked and tweaked and failed and tweaked and failed and tweaked and came up with my own.
Baking my own bread for my carb-lovin’ hubby makes me feel like a domestic queen.
Maybe you are like me and have a wheat-lovin’ hubby in your house while you are striving to eat clean. This recipe is for you!
Low-Knead, Wholemeal Bread
Makes 1 large loaf
4 cups 100% wholemeal or hi-protein unbleached white flour, plus more for kneading (I use a mixture of the two usually–100% wholemeal will be more dense. *NOTE: The best results came out of a loaf that had a 3:1 ratio of hi-protein flour to wholemeal)
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup wheat bran
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp flax
1/2 cup butter, melted (or olive oil for vegan option)
3 tbsp baking yeast
2 cups lukewarm warm water (not hot–if it is too hot it will kill the yeast)
- Mix together the flour, wheat germ, bran, salt and flax in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, stir yeast into warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the melted butter and the yeast mixture at the same time.
- Mix together in the bowl until almost mixed, then transfer to a floured surface and knead until the mixture is in a smooth-ish ball and there aren’t any air bubbles–about 5-10 minutes.
- Cover the ball of dough in flour, transfer back to the bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rise for 45 minutes.
- Punch the dough down (just once) and then let rise for another 45 minutes. Sometimes if I am in a hurry, I don’t do the second rise. I don’t mind a denser loaf [NOTE: while it works fine with one or two rises, I found the best results from letting it rise 3 times before preparing for the oven, rough times being: 45 minutes, separate into two bowls (lightly knead to get back into shape) – 60 minutes, punch – 45 minutes]
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Grease a large bread tin–or like I do, a large cake tin (NOTE: I now use a floured tray and cover the bread in flour). Anything works. Transfer the dough into the tin and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the bread is cooked all the way through. You can tell by taking it out and tapping on the bottom of the loaf. If it is soggy, it is not ready.
- Pull out of the oven and transfer to cooling rack before serving.
- Storage: This bread will keep for a couple of days, but if you are like us and there are only two of you, that won’t be long enough. The bread will go tough in the fridge, but if you put it in the freezer it will thaw and still be soft and fresh. I put them in te freezer in groups of two for easy handling. Place a piece of baking paper in between the pieces so they don’t stick.
I guarantee that making your own home made bread from scratch goes a long way toward having a happy husband in your house.
The way to a man’s heart (or almost anyone’s heart, for that matter) is through their stomach. ❤