Who can resist the sweet fragrance of bread baking in the oven? Plus, breads made with fresh whole-wheat flours are vastly more nutritious than white breads. Hard to believe how many nutrients are lost when wheat flour is de-germed, bleached and otherwise processed. Don’t believe me? According to the USDA, compared to unenriched white flour, whole wheat contains:
- 4.5 times as much fiber
- 3 times as much iron
- 16 times as much vitamin E
- 2.5 times as much riboflavin
- 4 times as much niacin
- 7.5 times as much vitamin B6
- 1.6 times as much folate
Here’s an excellent recipe for a supernutritious whole-wheat loaf, sent to us by Michael Rickert of Reinbeck, Iowa:
Rickert’s Whole-wheat Bread
I have baked bread for more than 30 years. I developed this recipe to get as much whole wheat as possible into a light, moist bread. I use coarse-ground wheat and high-protein, high-gluten premium whole-wheat flour from Dakota Prairie Organic Flour Co.
The keys to this recipe are the high-protein, high-gluten whole-wheat flour, the coarse-ground wheat that keeps the bread moist, and the six hours it takes for the dough to rise, absorb the moisture and build a strong yeast.
3 cups coarse-ground wheat
5 1/2 cups fresh whole-wheat flour
5 tsp yeast
6 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tbsp ground flaxseed (optional)
5 tsp salt
About 7 to 8 cups white bread flour
First, mix the coarse-ground wheat, whole-wheat flour, yeast and water in a large bowl. Cover and let rise for six hours. Then, stir in the rest of the ingredients, except for the white bread flour. Add the white flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon until the dough becomes too thick to stir. Now, knead the dough, adding the remainder of the white flour.
Next, cover the dough with a towel and let it rise until it doubles, about 1 1/2 hours.
Sprinkle a little white flour on the countertop, then punch down the dough and form five equal loaves. Place one dough loaf on each end of a cookie sheet, and three dough loaves lengthwise in the middle.
Make three cuts in the top of each loaf. Let the loaves rise in a warm place until a dimple made with your finger won’t bounce back.
Last, bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. After baking, place each loaf on a rack and let cool for six hours or more.
Eat one loaf, freeze one loaf and you'll still have three loaves to give as gifts.
If you want to learn more about whole grains and all the secrets to finding the right flours to bake truly delicious whole-grain loaves, I highly recommend the book Flour Power by Marleeta Basey.