Finally, the whole-wheat flax bread recipe I’ve been promising! The full recipe is at the bottom, but I’ll give you all you readers some pictures and generic instructions first so you know some insider tips, if you happen to be new to the bread making world.
Step 1. Combine the oil, honey, and molasses together. And if you’re smart like me, you’ll measure the oil first then the honey so it will slide out more easily. Then you’ll let your measuring tools hang over the bowl to get all the goop out.
Step 2. Next add the water and your yeast, give it a quick spin in the mixer and let it sit for a few minutes to make sure your yeast is alive. Yep, it’s ALIIIIIVE!!!! [Poofy + bubbly = alive yeast]
Step 3. You’ll add 2 c. flour and flaxseed meal first and mix it. Then add the rest of the flour and mix until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. You want it to be “tacky” – see how it sticks to my finger? How tacky.
Step 4. If you have a Bosch mixer, put your cute little lid on. If you’re using something else, cover the bowl with the method of your choice. You’re going to let this rise, right in the bowl, with the bread blade and everything, for 30-60 minutes.
Step 5. While the bread is rising, take your dog for a run to offset the calorie intake that will result from eating the baked bread. Tip: If you’d like to improve your splits, try to get caught in a hail storm while you’re running.
Step 6. Come back hot and sweaty to find a hot and fluffy dough.
Step 7. Turn on the mixer just for a few seconds to beat it back into submission knock it down close to it’s original size, pre-run, pre-rising. Weeeeeeee!!!
Step 8. Place on a floured surface and if you’re OCD or just want an excuse to use your food scale [I won’t tell you which applies to me], divide the dough in half. Exactly in half. Or just eyeball it. Whatever. I won’t judge.
Step 9. Form them into loaves and stick in greased pans. You’ll notice my pans look like they haven’t been washed in a very long time. You’re right. Here’s a little trick: never wash your bread pans. They’ll get seasoned and produced a better crust and help your bread pop out more easily. I learned that from my mom, who has baked bread every weekend for as long as I’ve known her and I’m pretty sure she did it before I graced her life too.
Step 10. Cover with a damp dishtowel. If you don’t have a clean one, cover with saran wrap.
Step 11. Let them rise until about double in size and they start to come above the edge of the pan. Now, this next step is important. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT fall asleep while the oven is preheating to 350 degrees. [This may or may not have been my second nap of the day.]
Step 12: When your oven is preheated [or if you fail to follow instructions and happen to fall asleep, do this upon waking], stick the loaves in the oven and pull them out about 35-40 minutes later. They should be golden brown and if you pop them out of the pans and tap them on the bottom, it should sound hollow.
Final Notes: If you happened to fall asleep for 45 minutes and let your dough rise too much, your results will be collapsed loaves instead of lovely rounded tops. I’m so ashamed.
So ashamed, that I’ll try to cover up the emotion with lots of bread and butter. And don’t you go touching my end piece. It’s mine. Even if the loaves turned out ghastly-looking, let me assure you that this piece [and the next one] still tasted just fine.
Alright, here’s the details for the recipe, which I adapted from this recipe. I’ll be honest, I never followed the original recipe, but I like to think my version is better.
Whole-Wheat Flax Bread [makes 2 loaves]
- 2 3/4 cups very warm water
- 1/3 cup olive oil [or whatever oil makes you happy]
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 tablespoon salt [I used sea salt]
- 2 tablespoons dry active yeast
- 6-7 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/2 c. milled flaxseed
- Place the oil, honey, and molasses in the bowl of your mixer. Admire how pretty it looks.
- Add the salt, water and the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes, until puffy and bubbly.
- Add two cups of the flour and the milled flaxseed and mix until well combined.
- With your mixer turned on to the lowest setting, gradually add more flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Don’t add too much – you want it to be fairly sticky [see Step 3 in the pictures]. I usually add around 6 1/2 cups total [including the 2 cups added above]. The trick is to have your dough stand up with the least amount of flour so the bread will be fluffy. Don’t overmix it.
- When your dough is holding together, leave it in the mixer, cover the bowl and let it rise for 30-60 minutes depending on the warmth of your kitchen. It doesn’t have to double, but you want it puffy.
- Spray two bread pans with non-stick spray. [My pans are 9x5.]
- Mix the dough again just enough to knock it down close to the original size. Just a few seconds on the lowest setting is all you need.
- Drop the dough on a floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form each one into a loaf shape. Do not roll the dough out with a rolling pin – use your hands to make a ball and then turn the dough under itself over and over until you have a nice loaf shape – smooth top, smooth sides.
- Place the loaves in your bread pans and let them rise until almost doubled. [Remember, do not fall asleep at this point.]
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for about 35 minutes, until the tops are golden and if you tap the bottom of the loaves, they sound hollow.
- Remove from the pans and cool the loaves on a rack. In theory, you shouldn’t cut the bread until they are fully cooled because they still do a little cooking while cooling and if you cut it while cooling, it releases the heat. Yeah, right – go ahead and cut into that baby, slap some butter on and enjoy it hot.
Note on flour: I usually make this with King Arthur whole wheat flour. I recently bought the Whole Foods 365 brand of whole wheat flour to save money and used that instead. It was still good, but I really could tell a difference in taste. I think it’s much better with the King.
Approximate nutrition stats per slice (based on 12 slices per loaf): 180 calories, 4.2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 237 mg sodium, 32 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 4.5 g protein.
- Don’t place your loaves in a bag until completely cooled. They’ll get sweaty. Ick.
- Do not store the bread in the fridge – it will get hard and the texture will suck. It will keep for about a week at room temperature just fine before it starts to get stale.
- If you want to store the second loaf, once completely cooled, wrap it in saran wrap and then wrap foil over that and freeze.