A while back, if you will remember, I was on a whole wheat bread quest. If you will also remember, I said that I have never mastered the art of bread making, until then. At that same time, my dear friend Lindsey was baking up whole wheat bread as well... she saw my post and shared her recipe with me which she deemed to be fantastic and super easy.
Now, that was a while ago and I have been meaning to make it; it just so happens that yesterday was father's day and I made strawbery jam after a rousing visit to Boxx Berry Farm with Auntie Kirsten, Brandon and Adam. That's a whole post in and of itself... stay tuned!
Back to the bread... as I was making jam for my poppey, I had the 'aha!' idea of baking bread to go with it. What goes better with freshly made strawberry jam than freshly made whole wheat bread?? So I dug up Lindsey's recipe and away I went.
Low and behold (although I didn't doubt her anyway!) it was really easy and it does make amazing bread. I think I will bake up both recipes (the other one is posted here) and have a side by side test, just to cover my angles. I did modify the recipe just a smidge but overall it's fantastic! Thank you, Lindsey, for sharing this great recipe :)
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 Tablespoons agave nectar, plus 2 1/2 Tablespoons again, for another part of the recipe
2 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 Tablespoon Earth Balance, melted, plus 1 Tablespoon again, for brushing on top at the end
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus another 1/2 cup
In a large bowl, add your warm water, yeast and 2 1/2 Tablespoons agave nectar. Stir to combine. Add the 2 1/2 cups bread flour and combine using a fork. When just combined, set aside for 30 minutes until big and bubbly.
Mix in 2 1/2 Tablespoons of the melted Earth Balance, the rest of your agave nectar (2 1/2 Tablespoons) and your whole wheat flour. Combine everything using a fork, until the dough is easily kneaded. Note: it will be sticky. At this point add another about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and knead together. I kneaded it in the bowl until the additional 1/2 cup flour was combined, then turned it out onto my floured surface.
Knead for a few minutes, until smooth and elastic. You still want it to be fairly sticky so don't go crazy with the extra flour or kneading.
Put back in bowl, drizzle with olive oil, turn then cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size; this took about 45 minutes. Note: if you read here a lot, you will know that my 'warm place' is next to or on top of my toaster oven, which I turn on for about 5 minutes. If you don't read here a lot A: you should :), and B: there's a great tip for you!
After rising, punch down and put in greased pan(s)Note: the original recipe called for twice as much to bake three loaves; I didn't want three loaves so I cut everything in half. This means, technically, this makes 1 1/2 loaves. I have those lovely Mario Batali mini loaf pans (which I lurve!) so it was ok. I did one regular size and one small size. Based on how my loaves came out, you can use one regular bread pan or one regular and one small. Neither of my loaves were overly full which is why I think you can put it all in one pan.
So, put it in your 9x5 greased bread pan or your 9x5 and your Mario Batali (or other) mini loaf pan, cover and let rise again until dough has topped the pan; about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 and bake those babies (or that baby) for 25 to 30 minutes. Note: do not overbake. In my oven, I let it go for about 26 minutes, maybe 27.
Remove loaves from oven and brush melted Earth Balance on top to avoid the crust from getting hard. Cool and serve. Or, slice warm and put Earth Balance and freshly made strawberry jam on it. Mmmm.
This bread can be used for all sorts of things: Sandwiches, personal pizza, toast, strawberry jam raft... you name it! It's delicious and well worth the teensy bit of effort it takes to make it.
Thank you again, Lindsey, for the great recipe! Enjoy!