The Best Homemade Whole Wheat Brown Bread
Life is all about consistency, routine and commitment that is why I am completely loyal to my one and only breakfast, half fried sunny side up egg and a toast, no butter please! Yes, I belong to a nation which is famous for its cuisine and pori, paratha, kulchay, bhatoray, naan type amazing breads are considered a perfect start for the day, not just on weekend mind you. Weekend special halwa, puri and channay ka nashta (breakfast) is a common practice throughout the country. Not for me. Our beautiful walled city of Lahore is worldwide known for its breakfast culture and I have spent quite some time residing in the city and yet I was never tempted to join the bandwagon. This makes me a not-so-good brunch guest because this old lady’s day won’t start on a good note without egg and toast. While everyone is searching recipes for those flaky, layered, crispy golden parathas for sehri I am the one standing my ground, protecting what is dear to me and trust me there is not a single moment of regret during a seventeen-eighteen hour long roza.
Homemade bread made from scratch without a bread machine, without preservatives, without added flavors, without added enhancers and without any added color is an ultimate level of achievement and satisfaction. Shall I go on and talk about that amazing aroma that engulfs the kitchen while a bread is baking in the oven? Baking bread at home is something that I started doing a little late than I should have and the top reason was why? Why do I need to go through a long process to bake a loaf of bread which I can easily pick from any store with a variety to choose from? It is a strong reason specially when you are in a country like ours which is mostly hot and kitchens aren’t temperature controlled so when the oven is on during these hot humid days it feels like the whole kitchen has practically turned into an oven itself. This isn’t exaggeration my friends. But once I tried I felt so accomplished 🙂 and all that I stated earlier about no additives and the fact that you control what to put in your food. It is hygienic and not-so-processed. Cooking and baking does make you a control freak I guess. Lightbulb moment.
In an earlier post, 98 Calorie Brown Bread ,I was mentioning how brown bread aren’t really brown bread and most whole breads don’t taste so good which eventually led me to this recipe by jennycancook.com that is the best whole wheat brown bread I have ever tried. As the name suggests, you need whole wheat flour with a little all purpose flour and unlike most breads which requires the dough to rise at least twice this one needs only one rise in the pan and this is a huge plus as the whole process can be done in 90 minutes from start to finish. It is perfect for all sorts of sandwiches, paninis or French toast. Most of the times I add some flex seeds to the dough to increase the nutritional value and to add a touch of texture to this soft and spongy goodness. One important factor to remember; have all your ingredients at room temperature before you start kneading the dough. Fluff and aerate your flour with a fork or whisk to avoid excessive addition of flour. It is quicker to make the dough using a mixer with dough hooks attached but you can absolutely knead it by hands which would take longer than the machine but will get the job done. If you prefer lighter browning, cover the pan loosely with an aluminum foil “tent”. Take a big piece of foil and slightly scrunch it to put some wrinkles which will make it easy to hold its shape, form a dome like shape and cover the pan for the last ten minutes of baking.
The Best Whole Wheat Brown Bread
An easy recipe from start to finish that yields a perfect loaf of bread. The bread is soft and delicious. Stays well in lunch boxes and goes well with any type of filling as sandwich.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup warm milk
- 3 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour for kneading and dusting the surface
Grease a 9x5 pan with cooking oil. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, instant yeast, sugar and salt. Stir.
Add in milk, oil and egg and knead by hand or with an electric mixer with dough hooks. Beat for two minutes on high speed. This can also be done in a food processor, running the machine for two minutes.
Lower the speed and gradually add extra 1/4 cup of all purpose flour, one tablespoon at a time, making sure dough doesn't get too dry or too sticky. You may require a little more or a little less than 1/4 cup of flour.
Scrape the dough out of the machine to a floured surface and knead with heel of the palm for about two minutes.
Form a ball, cover and rest for ten minutes.
Flatten the ball with fingers and roll the dough into roughly 8x8 square. Lift from one side and tightly roll the dough into a log/loaf.
Place in the greased pan, loosely cover and let rise in a warm place for about 35-45 minutes till it is risen about 3/4-1 inch higher than the pan.
Preheat the oven at 375 F/ 190 C.
Place the loaf pan in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
If it is browning too fast, cover loosely with a large metal bowl or foil.
When baked, remove immediately from the pan and let it cool completely before slicing.
Stays well in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.