There are so many different types of bread, but only one subgroup boasts a nutty, full-bodied flavor packed with nutrients: whole grain. It’s exactly how it sounds — the whole kernel of a grain is included (bran, germ and endosperm), and it can be ground or cracked. But no part of the grain is actually extracted or removed, which is why it retains all its nutritional value.
That said, making whole grain bread requires a little more than simply substituting whole-grain flour in place of all-purpose. This recipe walks you through each step, resulting in a loaf you can be proud of.
Whole Grain BreadYield: One 9″ x 5″ loaf
1. In a large bowl, combine the water, olive oil, honey and yeast. Let it sit for a minute or two, until the mixture looks slightly foamy.
2. Add the whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, ¼ cup of the millet, ¼ cup of the rolled oats and the salt. Stir to combine.
3. Knead the dough by hand until it begins to feel pliable and elastic, about 2-3 minutes. The dough should feel slightly wet. If it feels extremely dry, add a few more teaspoons of water.
4. Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it’s doubled in size. (This can take anywhere from 1-3 hours.)
Good to Know: Because whole grains are denser than refined grains, the yeast has to work harder to make the dough rise. This means the actual rise time can vary, and in some cases can be up to double the amount of time required for a white bread dough. Refer to visual cues, such as how much the dough should increase in size, for best results.
5. Deflate the dough and form it into a log. Transfer to a well-greased loaf pan, with the seam (if any) aligned down. Scatter the remaining oats and millet on top and press gently to ensure they stick to the dough.
6. Cover the dough and let it rise again, until it forms a dome over the rim of the pan. Near the end of this rising period, preheat the oven to 350 F.
7. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, rotating at the 20-minute mark. If needed, tent the top with foil if it seems to be browning on top too rapidly.
Pro Tip: To keep errant bits of oat or millet from making a mess in the oven, put a pan on the rack below the bread to capture any escaped bits.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once it’s cooled, remove the bread and serve! You can store leftovers in a paper bag for up to three days, or freeze the bread for up to one month.