January is National Wheat Bread Month. Wheat is the most important grain crop in the world. It is responsible for the development of the great bread-wheat civilizations from Mesopotamia to India, and China to Egypt, Greece and Rome, and then to our region.
Wheat is also the best grain for bread making. A kernel of wheat is known as the five-in-one; it is about 11 percent protein, and contains carbohydrates, both soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The less it is processed, the more nutritious it is. Learn about types of wheat.
Since whole wheat flour is made from the entire kernel, it is higher in fiber and more nutritious than white flour. Whole wheat flour makes breads with a coarse, firm, rough texture and a dark brown color. White whole wheat flour makes pale golden breads with a sweet taste and light texture that falls somewhere between the texture of whole wheat and white breads. Learn more about wheat flours.
To celebrate National Wheat Bread Month, I decided to make a simple and comforting Whole Wheat Harvest Bread. I used a mixture of freshly-milled white whole wheat and whole wheat flour. Learn about home-milling flour.
Whole Wheat Harvest Bread
Source: Making Fresh Bread from your oven to your table from LOVE FOOD
Makes: 1 small loaf
- 2 cups whole wheat bread flour, plus extra for dusting (I used 1 cup of white whole wheat flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk
- 2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
- 3/4 cup lukewarm water
Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl, tip in the bran from the sifter, and stir in the milk, sugar, and yeast. I didn’t sift the flour. I had just milled it and I always whisk it to make sure the bran is mixed into the flour.
Make a well in the center and pour in the oil and lukewarm water. Stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together, then knead with your hands until it leaves the side of the bowl. I used a Danish dough whisk instead of a wooden spoon.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
Brush a bowl with oil. Shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl, and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
Brush a 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 3 1/4-inch/17 x 11 x 8-cm loaf pan with oil. I didn’t have this size pan so I just used my glass loaf pan.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly-flour surface, punch down with your fist, and knead for 1 minute. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a rectangle the same length as the pan and flatten slightly.
Fold it lengthwise into 3 and place in the prepared pan, seam side down.
Put the pan into a plastic bag or cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, until the dough has reached the top of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 425 degree F/220 degrees C. Bake the loaf for about 30 minutes, until it has shrunk from the sides of the pan, the crust is golden brown, and it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
Slice and enjoy when completely cool. If you can wait that long. I enjoyed this bread with some homemade Pomegranate and Pear Jam.
Thanks for celebrating National Wheat Bread Month with me.
Look for more info on whole grains here.
Find more whole grain bread recipes here.