Who doesn’t like bread? The answer is no one. Even people who choose not to eat bread like bread. Even people who can’t eat bread for health reasons like bread; they just can’t eat it. Everyone likes bread.
Who doesn’t love homemade bread? Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like homemade bread? No one that I know. Though I suppose if you never had homemade bread perhaps you would prefer the store-bought variety which brings up a memory from my childhood.
When I was in fifth or sixth grade, I remember going over to my friend Katie’s house where I learned about box-cake mix. I had never heard of such a thing because my mom always made everything from scratch. As did both my grandmas. However, if I were a kid who had grown up on box-cake mixes, perhaps I would prefer box mix to homemade cake. Ipso facto, you can substitute store-bought bread for box-cake mix in this scenario to find those poor souls who prefer chock full of preservatives store bought bread.
I love making homemade bread. There was a period of time between 2012 and 2013 where I probably made homemade bread quite often. And then there was a long stretch of years where I didn’t make any that I can remember and I can’t give any real reason why. There are so many easy options to make homemade bread these days it’s almost a crying shame to buy it at the store. I was inspired to start making bread again when flipping through one of my sister’s cookbooks advertising making healthy artisan bread in just 5 minutes a day. Incidentally this book is by the same authors that inspired my bread-making obsession several years ago.
The premise of the recipe is simple: you mix a large amount of flour with yeast and a large amount of water and allow it to rise. Then you break off chunks of dough as needed to make fresh bread whenever you want. So technically it takes longer than 5 minutes to make bread but the dough is made in 5 minutes or less. For healthier artisan bread you’re using a large amount of whole wheat flour, a smaller amount of all-purpose flour and some vital wheat gluten in addition to the yeast and water. I recently purchased a huge bag of vital wheat gluten for some low-carb bread recipe I never made, so I’m excited to be able to finally use the vital wheat gluten.
A few months ago the Mediterranean diet was touted as the best diet of 2019 and probably the best long-standing diet around. Today I read an article that the Okinawa diet is giving the Mediterranean diet a run for it’s money. One of the reasons I love Mediterranean-friendly food is because I love grains. I love oats. I love rice. I love beans. I love bread. I love all things carbohydrate. And if you’re eating a Mediterranean-friendly diet you can have all those things (though obviously not in huge portions).
In my family, we tend to always have bread on hand and oftentimes will buy artisan bread to go with soups or eat as a sandwich. With this recipe, it eliminates the need to purchase bread.
This dough will last you 14 days in the fridge. The recipe is so easy I didn’t have to refer back to the book in writing it down.
- 5 1/2 c. whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
- 2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. vital wheat gluten
- pinch of salt
- 2 packets instant yeast
- 4 c. luke warm water (according to the book, should be just warmer than body temperature)
- seeds or seed mixture (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy, golden flax, etc.)
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Pour in the water and mix until dough is formed. No need to kneed.
- Loosely cover the container and allow dough to rise for 2 hours or until the dough flattens on top. This will honestly depend a lot on where you live and the time of year.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. When ready to bake, remove a grapefruit-sized chunk of dough from the container. Tuck the ends of the dough around and under to form a ball. Place on a pizza peel scattered with cornmeal or baking pan lined with parchment paper. Allow to rest 90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees for 30 minutes with a pizza stone in the oven (middle rack) and a roasting pan down a rack or two. Right before baking, brush the dough with water and scatter seeds across the top. Using a bread knife, slash the dough with the knife two or three times, depending on the size of your bread.
- Use your pizza peel to slide the bread onto the pizza stone or, if using parchment paper, set the baking sheet on top of the pizza stone. Add 1 cup of hot tap water to the roasting pan and close the door.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of your bread, until brown. If using parchment paper, try to move the bread off the paper and onto the stone 2/3 of the way through baking.
- Let cool completely before serving – this is recommended in the book. But really who can wait that long? And also – who doesn’t love warm fresh baked bread right out of the oven?
For my seed mixture I used everything I could find on hand (pumpkin, sunflower, golden flax, poppy and sesame). Bigger seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower would be good together; same with smaller seeds.
My dad and I ate this bread when it was still warm enough to nearly melt the cool butter. It is, what I would describe as, addicting. I love that it tastes healthy but also tastes delicious. It tastes like you’re doing something good for you body. And the best part? Relatively simple to make.