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This is the fourth and final in a series of posts on making whole wheat bread from freshly ground whole wheat flour, and this post contains…. the recipe! And it’s the recipe, I’d guess, that is what the admirably long-suffering readers of my other three posts have been beyond patiently waiting for! Because in my estimation, it’s time to stick a fork in this tutorial, and call it done!
What Did The Other Three Parts of Your Tutorial Cover?
In case you’re joining the rest of us for the first time, here’s a recap. The first post dealt with the grain mill itself. The second post offered information in regard to the types of wheat berries that are available, and I specified my own personal preference: the ones I find best suited, in fact, for this very recipe. The third post involved lots of other incidental facts that had to do with ingredients such as sweeteners, yeast, and how I handle wheat berry and flour storage.
But THIS post, this fourth in the series, I am happy to say, is perfectly usable as a stand-alone post. It’s also suitable for anyone who is UNINTERESTED in the whole freshly milled flour thing, because the recipe I’m going to give you today can easily be used with store bought flour.
So “Hooray!!!”, I say, for the rest of you bakers and wanna-be bakers out there who don’t grind your own flour. This is NOT a hard recipe. This CAN be done. By YOU! Take it off your bucket list, get a new bag of King Arthur Whole Wheat flour from the grocery store (and not the opened bag that’s been sitting on your shelf unused for months and months…or maybe even longer than that) and give this recipe a try!!! 😀
Before we get going, though, there is one more ingredient I’d like to discuss with you: freshly ground flax seed.
The Importance of Freshly Ground Flax Seed
First off, let me start out by saying that this recipe does not NEED the flax seed I’ve included in it. So if you want to omit that from the recipe, because you don’t have any, that’s just fine. You should go ahead and bake your bread.
HOWEVER….I’ve started adding freshly ground flax seed to my whole wheat bread. There are several things I think you might like to know about the importance of flax seed. The dietician at the hospital where my husband had his coronary bypass surgery told us to be sure to use flax seed to help my dear husband raise his HDL: his healthy cholesterol. (The HDL carries the bad cholesterol out of your blood and to your liver, where your liver can dispose of it, instead of allowing it to build up in your veins and arteries.
And for those with no history of heart disease, who think this doesn’t apply to you: women, as we approach menopause, our HDL levels tend to plummet. Bummer, huh?) Flax seed has also been recommended lately as being helpful in treating perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Flax seed contains both lignans and alpha linolenicic acids, about which the internet tells me:
” Lignans are capable of binding to estrogen receptors and interfering with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen on breast tissue. Lignans are therefore being studied for their possible effects on breast, prostate and colon cancer. Lignans are also good antioxidants scavenging free radicals that are thought to play a role in many diseases.”
So, as you can imagine, my husband and I are both interested in eating more flax seed, in smoothies as well as in our whole wheat bread.
But here’s the kicker: If you don’t grind flax seeds, for the most part, the flax seeds will pass through your body without you gaining any nutritional benefit, except for the occasional seed that happens to get crunched by your teeth. The benefit that comes from the flax seed is found in the oil that comes from within the broken or ground seed, and the flax seeds need to be freshly milled/ground, so that the oil doesn’t have time to oxidize.
Lest you think that this is another promotion for a grain mill, I assure you, it’s not! Pay attention now, because this is important. If you have a grain mill, you can’t mill flax seed in it, according to my Nutrimill manufacturer. So, what’s a freshly milled flax seed oil wanting person supposed to do??? If you want freshly milled flax seed, do it in your blender or VitaMix or in a coffee grinder that you’ve cleaned out or designated for grinding spices (thanks for that tip, Melissa!).
One other reminder about sweeteners, that I’ve already covered in earlier posts: for this recipe you may use whatever sweetener you prefer. If you’re opposed to sugar, substitute what you like (honey, agave nectar or whatever).
What Kind of Mixer Do You Use?
I used to use my KitchenAid Mixer to knead my bread, and it worked OK, but two loaves of whole wheat bread were its absolute limit. It would start smelling and feeling hot by the end of the kneading. With this recipe, you can certainly knead by hand if that is your preference.
However, these days, now that I am LOVING my brand new Bosch mixer, that’s what I use. It has a larger capacity than my KitchenAid did, is so much more stable, and I absolutely love it! And my readers can get a special price on it. Click the link for further information. I am absolutely 100% convinced that for those who want to bake bread, the Bosch mixer is the way to go!!!
Now, on to the long promised recipe. The basic framework of this recipe came from a recipe I found on Epicurious, but I have altered it to suit my family. If you try it, I believe you’ll say it was worth the wait. I’ve tried many recipes, but this one is the best I have ever tried, and you don’t even need to add vital wheat gluten (an extra ingredient that many recipes call for to help the bread rise).
|Yeast, fully proofed and foamy. On this day, I used a dark honey to help the yeast grow.
|The dough is cleaning the side of the bowl: kneading is almost done.
|Dough taken from mixer and placed in bowl to rise.
|Dough fully risen
|With cherry preserves. Get in my belly!!!