I love the smell of bread baking. It is one of the most amazing smells in the world. I love to breathe deep and fill my lungs with that rich, brown scent. Mmm, it’s incredible!
I also love to eat bread. Homemade bread is my favorite. When I was growing up, my mother would bake bread frequently. With eight children, this was a necessity. Once, she decided that because we would go through her bread so quickly, she would make 8 loaves at a time. Each of us would get our very own loaf to eat, and it would have to last us until the next time she made bread. Most of my siblings ate their loaves like civilized little human beings, one slice at a time. I remember taking big bites straight out of my loaf like a little savage! For some reason, Mom never used that particular system for bread again. But I will always remember fondly the time when I had my very own loaf of homemade bread, all to myself!
This recipe for 100% whole wheat bread is beautifully soft, as well as being healthy and smelling wonderful. I adapted the recipe slightly from my aunt’s amazing recipe for whole wheat bread. Her recipe called for shortening and white sugar, which I replaced with a reduced amount of olive oil and honey. I also added milled flax seeds for a nutritional boost.
An unimportant little side note: our oven kind of stopped working several days ago. The broiler works, but the heating element on the bottom of the oven doesn’t heat. So I baked these loaves in our large toaster oven. It works, but doesn’t get quite as hot as the normal oven. We have to increase either the baking time or the temperature, or a combination of both. It’s been an adventure trying to adjust to doing the family baking in a toaster oven!
Soft Whole Wheat Bread
Makes 2 loaves
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup milled flax seeds
Approx. 5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Add honey and oil to warm water in large bowl. Sir in yeast, and allow to rest for a few minutes until yeast is foamy. Stir in salt, flax, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 5 minutes, adding flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Since there is honey in the dough, it will likely stay a bit tacky, but shouldn’t be sticky.
Set dough in oiled bowl and allow to rise for 10 minutes, then punch down. Repeat rise-and-punch step two more times, for a total of three 10-minute rises.
Shape dough into two loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Allow to rise until doubled. While the dough is rising, allow oven to preheat to 350 F. Bake risen loaves for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
I made this lovely bread to use for bean burgers (using this yummy recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite). I wanted to make the dough into buns, but it turns out that two loaf pans fit into a toaster oven much more easily than a 10×15″ pan of buns.