Thursday, December 10, 2009

Honey Whole Wheat and Flax Bread

Three of my most used accessories in the kitchen are my digital kitchen scale, wheat grinder, and coffee grinder. My wheat grinder gets used at least once a week and usually more often than that. Fresh ground wheat retains all the nutrition in the wheat berry. The whole wheat flour you buy at the store still has the germ removed to slow down the rancidity of the flour. Fresh ground wheat needs to be used quickly and any left over flour not used in recipes need to be stored in the freezer. I weigh my wheat berries before grinding since the process of grinding incorporates so much air that it impossible to use it cup for cup for store bought flour. 1 cup of flour weighs 4.75 oz. This is where my kitchen scale comes in so handy! My scale is just a basic one I bought at wally world. It has a gram/oz setting and also has a tare feature. Both of these are imperative if you are going to buy a scale. I use my coffee grinder to grind flax seeds more than anything, but I have also used it to grind whole spices and to create small amounts of bread crumbs. This bread recipe is a whole wheat recipe, but is soft like a white bread! I think the addition of the vital wheat gluten and liquid lecithin make the difference. I buy the liquid lecithin at the Bosch Kitchen store. I think any specialty cooking store may carry it, but if you can't find it, feel free to make this recipe without it. I have forgotten to use it many times and it has turned out fine. The flax seed I added to up the nutritional value of my bread. It is another optional ingredient. I weigh my flax seed and then grind it in a coffee grinder. If you have a high speed blender, you can use that to grind the seeds. Just don't put whole flax seed in your bread. Our intestinal systems are not strong enough to break down the shell of the seed. So while it will add fiber to your diet, whole flax seed will not increase your nutritional content. If you buy pre ground flax seeds, use 3/4 C. I use my large soup pot with a glass lid to raise my dough. I often double this recipe and the dough comes halfway up the side of the pot when I first put it in.

When the dough starts to raise the lid, I know it has doubled!

Honey Whole Wheat and Flax Bread

2 C warm water
1/3 C honey
1 T active dry yeast
1/3 C oil
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 oz (1/3 C) Vital Wheat Gluten
1 lb 13 oz (5-6 C) Whole Wheat Flour (I have used hard red wheat and hard white wheat... I think I prefer the white, but there isn't a huge difference)
1 1/2 oz (1/4 C) flax seed, ground
1 T liquid lecithin

Combine water, yeast and honey in mixing bowl. Let sit 5 minutes until foamy. Add salt, oil, gluten and flour 1 C at a time. When dough forms a ball that cleans the side of the mixing bowl, you have added enough flour. Knead 7-10 min. Place in a greased bowl turning dough over once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled in size. (I turn my oven on briefly to barely warm it... maybe a minute, then raise my dough in the oven. Keeps the dough safe from little hands and makes it raise quicker!) Punch down and form into two loaves. Set in greased bread pans (I sometimes spray the tops with Pam), cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel and let rise until 1/2" above pan. (I also do this rise in the oven) Bake at 350* for 30 min. (If I time my bread rising carefully enough, I keep it in the oven while preheating.... If I've forgotten about it and it has already raised to the 1/2" above the pan, I will take the pans out to preheat the oven.) Remove from bread pans and brush tops with butter. Cool completely before cutting.

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