Healthy Whole Wheat Bread

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight” - M. F. K. Fisher

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – I’m not a bread person. In fact, I abhor eating bread very often. Oh yes, my taste buds have had a thorough stint of spoiling by my folks, with all the variety of breakfast fare that was being churned out at home. So much so, that I still haven’t gotten over it! That being said, I couldn’t quite sleep in peace till I cracked the perfect recipe for Whole Wheat Bread either. And so, I decided to take the plunge today. I’d be lying if I said I conjured up with this recipe all by myself. Much as I’m not I wasnt that comfortable playing around with bread doughs yet, what started out as wanting to try DK’s Healthy Orange Whole Wheat Bread, ended up being something quite different, though the basic idea was the same. What made me change DK’s classic recipe you ask? It was the yeast, and the vital wheat gluten. DK had used rapid dry yeast, whereas I didn’t have that cos as far as I know, it’s not available here in India. And different yeasts work totally differently. Thankfully, I did know my bread-baking basics, so that’s what helped me sail through this one. Nonetheless, as I was making the bread – kneading it, proving it, baking it, I sent up a little prayer each time, hoping that it would indeed look like, and taste like a bread when it was done! Looks like my prayers were heard today. Since the Gods seem to be in a generous mood, maybe I should’ve asked for a lot more than just about the bread, but then, let me stop being greedy for now, and be content with such a wonderful loaf of bread. So go on and read the recipe while I enjoy my freshly baked bread with my soup…tonight’s dinner. What else would you expect me to eat now, when the bread is calling my name crying out my name loud and clear?

Whole Wheat Bread

Preparation Time: 2-3 hours
Baking Temperature: 220°C/425°F
Baking Duration: 20-30 minutes
Yields: 1 Pound of bread (standard-sized, weighing roughly 500g)

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour (WWF) – 2 cups (plus more, for dusting)
  • Wheat Bran – 1/4 cup (4 tbsps)
  • Wheat Germ – 1/4 cup (4 tbsps)
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Brown Sugar – 2 tbsps
  • Instant dry Yeast – 2 1/4 tsps
  • Butter (softened) – 2 tbsps
  • Orange juice – 3/4 to 1 cup (see notes)
  • Luke-warm Water – 1/4 cup
Notes:
  • The amount of orange juice you will need may vary between 3/4 and 1 cup (or even more) depending on the quality of WWF you are using. The more fibrous the flour is, more the orange juice it will absorb. Use your judgment here and start with 1/2 cup. Add the remaining juice little by little, as required.
  • While baking, if you feel the bread is browning too fast, cover loosely with aluminum foil and then bake (Do this only after the first 15 minutes of baking).
  • You could brush with some milk or milk and oil mixture before baking to get a nice glaze.
  • When still warm out of the oven, brush bread with melted butter to get a softer crust.
  • Do not let the baked loaf cool for too long inside the loaf pan after you have removed it from the oven. The heat from the bread condenses on the sides and makes your bread soggy.
  • The amount of yeast used in the recipe (2 1/4 tsps) is the same as 7.5g of yeast or ‘one envelope of yeast’ that you would see in recipes originating from countries abroad.

Procedure:

  • Put the yeast and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  • Add the lukewarm water to it, and let it sit till it starts bubbling away, about 5 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile, put the whole wheat flour, wheat bran, wheat germ and salt onto your clean kitchen platform or into a fairly large and wide bowl. Stir well to incorporate.
  • Make a well in the flour mixture. Stir the yeast mixture and pour it in the flour, along with the orange juice. If you’re working on your kitchen platform, make sure none of the yeast mixture runs out of your well, and mix it in.
  • Combine the mixture to form a soft dough.
  • Rub in the butter with your fingertips, and continue to knead the dough for another 5-10 minutes on the kitchen platform.
  • If the dough feels very sticky, dust the platform with not more than 1-2 tbsps of WWF.
  • Now, lightly dust another clean part of the platform and move your dough ball to over there. Cover with a big bowl and let it rest for a good half hour.
  • While the dough is resting, grease a loaf-tin lightly with oil (use a pastry brush), and set aside.
  • Once the dough has rested, pull it out from under the bowl and give it a good knock back. (Yeah, this is the part in bread-baking that I love, so I can take out my frustration on that poor ball of dough. You should do it too, its therapeutic! Go on, punch that dough hard. Dishum-dishum!).
  • This time, don’t stick the ball of dough under that bowl. You will need to fold the sides of the dough. To do that, pat the ball of dough gently and spread and flatten it a wee bit. Little by little, roll inwards from one side (work your way starting away from you, and ending closer to you), while flattening the dough and removing the excess gas from the dough mixture. Press the rolled portion gently with your fingertips. Doing this ensures that there are no air bubbles in your dough. It is very imperative that you don’t miss this step since any air bubbles will give you a bread that wont look as beautiful as it should. It’ll have huge air bubbles in the form of random hollow spots, instead of a nice and spongy texture, once you’ve cut it into slices. Now, we wouldn’t want that, would we? (I know I should have taken a pic of this step to help you guys out, but my hands were so messy, I couldn’t dare touch the camera right then. Perhaps when I make it next time, I’ll take help and get a picture for you all).
  • Once you have folded your dough, work gently and shape it to a size slightly smaller than your loaf pan.
  • Drop it gently inside your loaf pan, and gently (yet again, yes) press down to the sides.
  • You could make cuts on top of the dough with a fork/knife/pastry cutter. Whatever lines you fancy. I just gave mine 3 diagonal cuts, parallel to each other (Is this starting to sound like a Geometry class?).
  • Cover the pan and let the dough prove till it doubles in size, in a dark area of your kitchen, preferably inside a dark kitchen cabinet. (I let mine prove for a good two hours).
  • Bake at 220C/425F for 25 minutes, or till the top has browned lightly and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped (It took exactly 25 minutes in mine).
  • Once done, remove from oven and let the tin cool on a wire-rack for 10 minutes. Upturn the loaf from the tin and let it cool on the wire-rack for a good amount of time before you can slice it.
  • Once the loaf has fully cooled, slice the bread with a bread knife/serrated knife and enjoy it with some home-made jam, or with a comforting bowl of soup, like I did.

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21 responses to “Healthy Whole Wheat Bread

  1. Lovely ! It’s heavenly to smell a bread baking at home.. Its a nice twist with the orange though. Should try it.. :) Thanks!

  2. Beautifully done. I sure wish I was your neighbor at least to get a whiff of this baking in your oven! But, now that you’ve shared the recipe, I will have my neighbors do the same! *wink*

    Lady, with all the baking going on you are going to give your neighborhood bakeries a run for their money! You GO, babe!

  3. Prefectly baked whole wheat bread looks awesome…

  4. Sounds simply great, Madhuri

  5. Welcome to the beginning-to-fall-in-love-with-yeast club!!! Congrats on baking your first bread Madhuri!! Am sure there will be many more to come, now that you know how heady freshly baked bread smells…

    And hey, we do get instant yeast in IBCA and I tried baking the same bread with instant yeast incidentally.

  6. Thats a pretty looking bread dear…very healthy and everyday necessity for us…

  7. Ooh, can’t wait to try this..where do you get wheat germ in B’lore?

  8. truly healthy bread, beautiful pics n lovely presentation

  9. This is very good looking bread :)

  10. Oh yeah – the Gods heard your prayers loud and clear! Next time you pray, put in a word for me please, ok?

    You’ve baked like a pro! And its whole wheat – so at least you can eat it all up and not feel guilty. Now, did you make that jam too? Where is that post? I want to see!
    I’d listen to any class you take – not just geometry – so keep taking classes and keep baking bread! I’m all eyes and ears!

  11. Now my girl, having tried and tasted I wanted the rest of your readers to know….
    Do try this bread and you will all thank me for suggesting so!
    Madhuri, I told you that I was apprehensive about the orange rind giving the extra tang…but here is what R said….”Nice orange flavour, mmm…no not finding it too much”…In my terms that is testimonial to anything I cook…..
    Now I am hopping to the cake below :)

  12. First time here….beautiful clicks…..bread is perfectly baked !!

    Lavanya

    http://www.lavsblog.com

  13. Lovely bread.

  14. This bread looks so yummy!!!!!!!

  15. Hi,
    I came here through Edible Garden… you have some lovely recipes.
    I had a doubt.. did you bake the bread in your microwave – convention mode or in a regular oven ?
    I had been searching for a bread recipe that can be baked in a convention- microwave ( recently bought one),
    If you let me know it would be great !
    Thank you.

    • Hi Valli,
      Thanks for swinging by. I hope you found what you were looking for. Do drop by often :D
      In answer to your question, I bake in a convection microwave oven. However, I also have to tell you that there are no such exclusive convection-microwave recipes. A convection microwave, once turned on in the convection mode, acts like any other regular oven. So it shouldn’t really matter what baking recipe you are following, as long as you bake in the convection mode.

      You can bake in the microwave mood too. Do check these cakes out – http://cookcurrynook.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/eggless-butterless-5-minute-microwave-chocolate-cake/

      http://cookcurrynook.wordpress.com/2010/02/10/the-2-minute-chocolate-wonder-cake-in-a-mug/

      Do let me know if you have anymore queries. I’d be more than happy to help you out :D

      • Thanks a ton ! :)
        I do bake cakes in the microwave ( convection mode).. when I read your review, it was like a piece of my
        childhood revisited…my mom had an oven like a box, which could be put on a gas stove, and she used to make
        all kinds of yummy cakes in that.. all our birthday cakes were baked by her, because ” in those days” we never
        bought stuff from outside ( ” anything made outside home is not healthy” ) :D
        Then when I got married, my mother in law presented me with one of those round electric ones referred to in your
        review, she lugged it all the way from Chennai… and I used to bake in that. And yes, many times went through
        the agony of powercuts midway through baking and cakes flopping…
        Later, I bought an LG microwave oven with convection, and it works well for all the cakes I made. and it more
        importantly.. it is much faster than the box oven, so the chance of cake flopping due to powercut is reduced..and
        it saves me lot of time too !

        Yes I got to read all your cake recipes yesterday.. will go through other recipes today :)
        I must compliment you on the style of writing and sense of humor… and your patience !
        Will keep visiting, thanks to Nags too !

  16. I just made this madhuri, and it turned out awesome :)

  17. Thanks a kilogram for the lengthy procedure .
    What is meant by “brown sugar” (used for making bread ) in India / Bangalore ?
    —S R Jayapal

  18. Nice recipe… Just have one question. What is he size of the cup you are using?

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