3 Ways to Make Quick and Easy Whole Grain Bread
Enjoy the Smell of Freshly-Baked Bread Anytime!
I absolutely love bread; from the preparation to devouring it, I enjoy every aspect of bread-making. Like most people however, I don't always have the time, energy, or clean kitchen space to make an incredibly labor-intensive recipe, and I was determined to come up with something that was filling, delicious, and could be used for a variety of meals. I created and perfected this recipe after years of research and testing. It doesn't take a massive amount of time, experience, or counter space to make.
This will no doubt be the easiest and most delicious whole grain bread recipe you've ever made!
5 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 pkgs)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups warm water (tepid/room temperature)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose white flour
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
**If you have the luxury of a stand mixer, this recipe is a breeze! Start your warm water mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer and follow the instructions. If you do not have a stand mixer, this recipe is still much easier than a standard bread recipe! I'll include tips for both ways.
1.) Dissolve sugar in warm water by stirring gently. Water should not be hot!
2.) Sprinkle yeast on warm water mixture and stir gently to combine. Let rest one to two minutes to activate. Yeast will expand and look frothy.
3.) While yeast is soaking, melt butter and add salt. Once butter has cooled slightly, add to warm water/yeast mixture.
4.) Mix in flour, one cup at a time, until a nice sticky, stretchy consistency is reached.
If using a stand mixer, use the dough hook and turn the speed to 1 or 2. Let each cup of flour incorporate before adding the next. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to keep the ingredients well mixed. You've added enough flour when your dough leaves the sides of the bowl, clinging to the dough hook, but still looks flexible and stretchy. Leave the mixer to continue kneading your dough on speed 2 for approximately 2 minutes, or until the dough has a satiny appearance. You should be able to tear off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it into a thin, almost transparent sheet before it rips apart.
If not using a stand mixer, mix the first cup of flour into the water mixture using a hand mixer or a whisk. Beat in this first cup of flour until your mixture is smooth. Then switch over to a sturdy wooden spoon, or your hands, and continue adding the flour one cup at a time. After the first 2 - 3 cups of flour, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and incorporate the remaining flour until you have a soft, flexible dough that stretches nicely but isn't tough. Continue kneading for 2 - 3 minutes, or until the dough has a satiny appearance. You should be able to tear off a small piece of dough and gently stretch it into a thin, almost transparent sheet before it rips apart.
5.) Transfer the dough to an oiled or buttered bowl (I like olive oil best for bread) and cover lightly with plastic wrap or a warm, damp tea towel. Let stand until the dough has doubled in size, about 40 minutes to an hour. Your microwave is an excellent place to proof bread. You should NEVER actually microwave the dough, but the inside holds a constant temperature and protects your dough from drafts. If you have an over-the-range microwave, the light on the bottom being on warms the inside to the perfect temperature for letting the bread rise.
6.) Decide how you want to use this dough! Instructions for 3 variations below.
What Your Dough Should Look Like:
For a Standard Loaf of bread
1/4 c cornmeal
1 whisked egg white
Sesame Seeds (optional)
1.) Prepare 2 standard size loaf pans by brushing with olive oil.
2.) Press down the dough in the oiled bowl. No further kneading is necessary with this recipe! It will actually make the loaf tougher and drier.
3.) Gently remove the dough from the bowl, divide in half, and shape each into a ball or cylinder with as few movements as possible.
4.) Dust bottom of the loaf (seam side) with cornmeal. This can be easily done by sprinkling cornmeal on the counter and placing the bread on top of it. Place loaf seam side down into the loaf pan, brush with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.
5.) Cover again with plastic wrap or towel.
6.) Preheat oven to 400o F, and let bread rise until almost doubled in size again, then bake for 20 minutes or until the top of the bread is a rich, caramel brown color.
7.) Turn loaves out onto a cooling rack or wooden cutting board and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
For Hoagies or Buns
1/4 c cornmeal
1 whisked egg white
Sesame Seeds (optional)
1.) Prepare a large baking sheet by brushing with olive oil and sprinkling with cornmeal, or prepare a baking stone by sprinkling with cornmeal.
2.) Dough needs no additional kneading. You will push down the risen dough in the bowl and divide it as directed below using as few movements as possible. The more you work the dough at this point, the tougher and drier it will be after baking.
3.) For slider buns, divide dough into 1/4 cup portions. For standard burger buns, 1/3 cup portions. For hoagie or sub sandwich buns, divide the entire batch of dough into quarters (4 pieces). Gently shape loaves into circles or cylinders according to desired use and place seam side down onto prepared pan (or wooden cutting board sprinkled with cornmeal if using baking stone).
4.) Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired, then cover again with plastic wrap or towel.
5.) Preheat oven to 400o F. Let buns rise until almost doubled in size.
6.) Put prepared baking sheet into the oven - or gently slide buns off board onto baking stone - and bake for 15 minutes or until tops are a rich golden brown and bread makes a hollow noise when thumped lightly on top.
7.) Leave in baking sheet or move buns to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
For Cinnamon Swirl Bread
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 whisked egg white or 1/4 c milk
1.) Prepare 2 standard size loaf pans by brushing all sides and bottom with cooking oil.
2.) Lightly dust a counter or large cutting board with white flour.
3.) Divide dough in half. Roll one half out into a rectangle, about 8 inches wide by 16 inches long.
4.) Brush face-up side with melted butter, then sprinkle cinnamon and sugars evenly over butter. Beginning with a smaller end (8 inches wide), start rolling this dough into a cylinder, as if making cinnamon rolls. The tighter the roll, the better, but resist smashing the dough or overworking it.
5.) Place the roll, seam side down, into a prepared loaf pan. Repeat with the other half of dough.
6.) Brush top of loaves with egg white or milk to help with browning.
7.) Cover again with plastic wrap or towel.
8.) Preheat oven to 400o F, and let these loaves rise until almost doubled in size.
9.) Bake for about 20 minutes. Loaves will be slightly brown on top when done and will sound hollow when tapped.
10.) Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn loaves out of pan very gently and place on a cooling rack or cutting board and let cool an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour. It's tempting to skip the cooling and eat, but if you want to be able to slice the bread in pretty, even slices, it's necessary. If you just wanna rip it apart and maul it, I've done that too. It's still delicious.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Candace Leann