Monday, January 23, 2012

Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

So my wonderful sister in law mentioned this concept quite a while ago to me, so I bought the cook book....and like too many other cook books I've purchased, it sat in my cupboard.  Well, with the growing desire to make my own things, I pulled that book out.  I was inspired!  Making my own bread had always intimidated me (I think it was the yeast/rising thing!), but NO MORE!!   In the last 3 days, I have baked 2 Free form Artisan loaves and one in a loaf pan.  I have another batch of dough ready to be prepped to bake into Soft Honey Wheat Sandwich bread.  Sounds delish, huh?  So here is what I did.

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (can decrease)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (can adjust to taste or health concerns)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) vital wheat gluten (or vital wheat gluten flour)
4 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees F)
1 to 2 tablespoons of whole seed mixture for sprinkling on top crust:  sesame, flaxseed, caraway, raw sunflower, poppy, and or anise

First, measure the dry ingredients into a 5-quart bucket or bowl, and whisk them together (you can also use a fork, or if it’s lidded, just shake them well).  Mixing the dry ingredients first prevents the vital wheat gluten from forming clumps once liquids are added.

Now add the water to form a very wet dough.  Don’t add additional flour to dry this out:

Cover loosely (leave lid open a crack) and allow to rise for two hours at room temperature (if you decreased the yeast, you’ll need more time).  NEVER PUNCH DOWN or intentionally deflate.  The dough will rise and then begin to collapse.  Refrigerate and use over the next 14 days, tearing off one-pound loaves as you need them.

On baking day, cut off a grapefruit-sized piece of dough (about a pound), using a serrated knife or a kitchen shears.
Now, quickly shape a loaf as you’ve seen in our video on the website, or on our new Amazon site (but note that the Amazon video leaves out the crucial 90 minute resting time that I’ll talk about in a minute).  Should take less than a minute— still pictures don’t do it justice, but basically, you pull the top around to the bottom, rotating quarter-turns as you go.  DON’T KNEAD or otherwise knock all the gas out of the loaf: 

Cover the loaf loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest on a pizza peel covered with cornmeal or parchment for 90 minutes (40 minutes if you’re using fresh, unrefrigerated dough.  This is longer than our 1st book because whole grains take a longer rest than white doughs.  Depending on the age of the dough, you may not see much rise; our loaves depend more on “oven spring.”

Thirty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C), with a baking stone placed on a middle rack.  Place an empty broiler tray for holding water on any other rack that won’t interfere with rising bread.
Just before baking, use a pastry brush to paint the top with water (we’ve dropped the cornstarch wash) and sprinkle with seed mixture.  Slash the loaf with 1/4-inch deep parallel cuts across the top (or a singe lengthwise cut as in the first picture).  Use a serrated bread knife held perpendicularly to the loaf.

Slide onto hot stone and carefully pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray (in the book, we give alternatives for creating that steam environment, which is essential for creating a great crust).

After a 30-minute bake, cool on a cooling rack, and serve however you’d like.  You have the basis for a complete, nutritious meal, bursting with healthy vegetable oils (from wheat germ), fiber (from wheat bran), and vitamins.  We look forward to hearing more from you as people have questions about the book.

The bread turned out great!  There is also a White Bread version for those who don't want to do the Whole Wheat (but WW is sooooo much healthier for you!!). 

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Cornmeal for the pizza peel

And then, you know the drill. Mix with a spoon in a food-safe bucket, let it rise at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours, then into the fridge for two weeks. Tear off chunks, shape, rest, and bake as needed.  Details in the book

The book also has Gluten Free breads to make using this super easy process. 

So using the WW recipe, it works out to about 40 cents per one pound loaf.  The White version would be even less than that!!  Give it a whirl and tell me what you think:)


  1. This bread dough is always in my fridge, we love it! I bake it a bit different but is is much easier. I put the dough to rise on a piece of parchment paper and cover with plastic. I use a covered clay baker, mine is pampered chef, you could use any heavy covered pan. Put the pan in the oven and preheat to 450. When the oven is preheated take the plastic wrap off the dough and pick up the parchment paper with the dough and put it all in the dutch oven and cover bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake 25-30 minutes more. It comes out great and you don't have to mess with pouring the water in a pan and all.

    1. that is a great idea! i will try that the next time i bake it!!