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I am an eater of wheat and a lover of bread. I’ve dabbled with eating gluten free a few times, mostly because I get a lot of emails and questions from people who are, for various reasons, eating gluten free, and I want to better understand it. Every time I eat gluten free the same thing happens: I gain weight. Which, if you’re buying into the hype surrounding the Wheat Belly diet, doesn’t make sense, right? Except that it does.

Whole grains, including whole wheat, are satiating. Consuming grains in moderation as a part of a healthy, balanced diet, provides you with energy, protein, fiber, and a slew of micronutrients depending on which grain you’re eating. When you’re satiated you’re less likely to snack the day away and fill up with empty calories. I know plenty of people who have serious intolerances and sensitivities to grains, and if you’re in that situation, I feel for you, I really do. If you are able to digest grains without problems, however, I encourage you to keep whole grains in your diet in a variety of ways, including, in moderation, healthy whole grain breads.

This recipe came into my life via my friend Leanne’s blog, where it was modified from a King Arthur’s Flour recipe. I tweaked the recipe only slightly to suit some ingredients I had on hand. The deep dark colour in this particular loaf comes from blackstrap molasses, but I have also made the recipe using maple syrup, which was a totally different but equally delicious flavour. Next time I’ll be using honey.

If you’re an eater of wheat and a lover of bread, like I am, I encourage you to give this loaf a try. It’s an easy recipe, even if you’re new to baking bread. Test it out and let me know what you think!

This bread was made with the last of a bag of hard red spring whole wheat flour, which was generously provided by The Flour Peddler. I’m going to be posting an interview with The Flour Peddler himself early next week, so stay tuned for a wealth of information about this amazing flour.

 One year ago: Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs and Cobb Salad
Two years ago: Maple Walnut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe: 

The trick with this whole wheat bread is a technique called autolyse: to mix all of the ingredients together and then let it sit and allow the whole grain flour to fully absorb the water before you start kneading. I like to bake bread in a loaf pan which is a little narrower and longer than standard, but any loaf pan will do.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flours, via The Kitchen Politico

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1 1/2 cups water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 Tablespoons molasses, honey, or maple syrup
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, chopped
1 Tbsp each black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, flax seeds, and poppy seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Combine all ingredients and mix to form a shaggy dough. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, and then knead it for 10 – 15 minutes (I used the dough hook of my Kitchen Aid mixer for this), or until it is very smooth, shiny, and definitely pulls from the side of the bowl.

Lightly grease a large bowl and transfer the dough into it; cover with a lightly greased plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free place for an hour.

Grease a bread pan. Lightly knead the dough by hand for about 30 seconds, then shape and transfer the dough to the bread pan.  Cover again with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise for 60 – 90 minutes, or until the dough has crowned above the bread pan.

About 30 minutes before the end of your last rise, preheat the oven to 350 F / 180 C. Bake the bread for 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil for the last 20 minutes. Remove bread from the oven and turn out to cool on a rack – tap the bottom of the loaf to ensure the bread is cooked through – it should have a hollow sound. Allow the bread to cool completely before you slice into it.

Whole wheat flour, with the bran and germ intact, is a significantly better source of fiber and nutrients than all purpose flour, which has had those parts of the grain removed. Whole wheat is a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. It is also a good source of magnesium. Bread is for sure a moderation situation, but healthy, whole grain breads such as this one can be enjoyed as a part of a balanced diet.

Do ahead: Once my loaf of bread is thoroughly cooled I like to slice it, as thinly as I can, and then keep it in a plastic bag in the freezer. A home made loaf of bread free from preservatives will only last a few days at room temperature, and bread doesn’t do so well in the fridge. Freezing it pre-sliced is the way to go.

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012

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