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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

I’ve been making my own bread for about 3 years now (in a bread machine). While I’ve been on phase 2 of the South Beach diet, I’ve cut down on bread products and when I do have bread, it is either whole wheat sandwich thins or whole wheat bagel thins. For the hubby, though, I make this bread which, after faithfully, uncomplainingly trying many versions, is his favorite. This one seems just right: good for you, good texture, good taste, easy to slice.

The recipe is loosely based and adapted from the “Better Homes and Gardens Best Bread Machine Recipes” Whole Wheat Bread recipe and Oatmeal Bread recipe.

Whole Wheat, Oatmeal Bread
Approximately 129 calories, 22 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 5 grams protein per slice (16 slices per loaf)

Ingredients (added in order to bread machine pan):
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 TBSP agave nectar (or honey)
1 cup regular oats (not quick or instant)
1 cup bread flour
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour (plus more if needed during mixing)
1 1/2 TBSP vital wheat gluten
1 scant TBSP active dry yeast (make a well in the top of the flour and place yeast here to ensure no exposure to liquids until mixing)

Cooking spray

Put the pan inside the bread machine and spray posts that mixing blades go on with cooking spray; install mixing blades facing away from each other and spray them lightly with cooking spray to help release the bread when baked. Add ingredients as listed above (except cooking spray) and set machine to the wheat setting (my machine’s whole wheat setting takes 3 hours 50 minutes or so).

Once mixing has started, check dough to see if it needs a bit more liquid or more flour. I’ve rarely had to add liquids but more than half the time I need to add 1-2 TBSP whole wheat flour. If your dough looks sticky like this and isn’t forming up into a single ball of dough, add flour.

Sticky and not coming together in 1 ball-needs more flour.
Just right!
Now sit back and let the machine do its thing and enjoy the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread, mmmmm.

Here's the loaf fresh from the machine.

I tried making 100% whole wheat bread, and never came across a recipe that didn’t make a brick-like loaf. We like this “multi-grain” version and it’s much healthier than white bread. I store it in a bread bag in the fridge and it stays nice and fresh for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!). Slightly warming a slice in the microwave for a few seconds takes the chill off and brightens the flavor.

Let me know if you have a good 100% whole wheat recipe for a bread machine that has good texture and flavor.

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