Martha Stewart’s Whole Grain Bread

IMG_4648In keeping with my promise, here is the first of many “healthier eats.”  This is my favorite bread to make from scratch, probably because I have made it so many times that it’s practically effortless by now.

I learned to bake bread from scratch during a 3 month period of unemployment back in fall/winter 2006.  I had just come back from L.A. and returned to D.C. thinking I’d have no trouble finding a job.  Famous last words…

Three months later, I snagged a job I was vastly over-qualified for (the phrase, “We’re out of half & half” will haunt me forever…) – but at least I learned how to bake a decent loaf of bread.  Baking bread makes me feel remarkably self-sufficient, as though I’m the sort of woman who could’ve survived the Great Depression with gusto or set out on the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon.

Oh good lord.  What am I talking about??  Let’s be serious.  The reality is – one mosquito bite and I’d be ready to turn that wagon around.  I can’t even survive “Screen on the Green” on the National Mall – there are no real bathrooms!  And no chairs!   And there are BUGS!

Okay so it’s just a loaf of bread, people.  But it’s a darn good one.

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The All-Star line-up

Martha Stewart’s Whole  Grain Bread

INGREDIENTS

1 c. whole wheat flour (I used Pillsbury)

2 tbs. wheat bran (I didn’t have any – so I used wheat germ.)

3/4 c. warm whole milk (about 110 degrees)

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 envelopes active dry yeast

3 tbs. coarse whole grain cornmeal

3 tbs. + 2 tsp. old-fashioned oats

3 tbs. ground flaxseed, plus 1 tsp. whole for sprinkling (I only had whole flaxseed, so I threw 1 tablespoon in the dough – not 3 – and sprinkle some on top as well.)

2 tsp. salt

2 1/2 bread flour

Cooking spray

DIRECTIONS

1.  Stir whole-wheat flour, wheat bran and 1 c. water in a bowl.  Let stand 30 minutes.

2. Stir milk and 1 tbs. sugar in a bowl until sugar dissolves.  Stir in yeast.  Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes, until it looks sorta like this:

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3.  Put whole wheat flour mixture, milk mixture, remaining 3 tbs. sugar, the cornmeal, 3 tbs. oats, the flaxseed, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook; mix on medium-low speed until combined.

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Add 2 1/2 c. bread flour; mix until dough is tacky, about 2 minutes.  If dough is too sticky, add more flour 1 tsp. at a time.  Continue kneading until dough is soft and elastic, about 5 minutes more.

4.  Coat a large bowl with cooking spray.  Add dough to bowl, turn to coat.  IMG_4606

Cover loosely with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size (about 1 hour) or refrigerate overnight and then bring to room temperature.

5. Turn out dough onto a work surface and shape into loaf and place in a buttered 9×5″ loaf pan.  Using a spray bottle, mist top of loaf with water and sprinkle with remaining 2 tsp. oats and 1 tsp. whole flaxseed.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap.  Let stand until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

6.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place ceramic baking dish half-filled with water on the oven rack under the bread (this will keep the bread from drying out.)  Bake 30-35 minutes, rotating pan once.  Unmold bread onto a wire rack; return to oven and bake directly on the rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven; let cool completely on rack.  Bread can be stored, wrapped in plastic, at room temperature up to 1 week.

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I suppose next I should learn to make my own butter.  (Then again, that may give me a real Laura Ingalls complex…)

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4 thoughts on “Martha Stewart’s Whole Grain Bread

  1. I have always wanted to be one of those woman who could make homemade bread… I mean the kind of homemade bread you could use for sandwiches. Whenever I have made it I have used a mix from the store and threw it in the bread maker. I could never cut it thin enough and it was too small of a loaf.

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