Friday, November 11, 2011

Honey Oatmeal Flax Bread

This sandwich bread recipe is just wonderful.  You want to bookmark this one!  Aside from the Homemade Sandwich Thin Buns this has absolutely become my most favorite bread recipe.  It has everything you want in a perfect bread-  it is soft and light, has a very mild flavor, and tastes awesome both as toast and for sandwiches- even for kids.   But guess what?!  It is super healthy!  Seriously!  It has the slight nuttiness from the flax seeds, wonderful wholesomeness from the whole wheat flour and oatmeal and just a hint of sweetness from the honey.  But unlike many other whole wheat breads, it isn't dense, tough or too "rugged" if you know what I mean.  It is a nice healthful alternative for all white bread lovers everywhere.  It is basically a white bread dressed up in Wholesome Wheat Bread clothing.   You get the texture and flavor of a nice soft white bread, but all the goodness of a whole grain one.  Honestly, it can't be beat!  It makes a perfect PB&J (kid tested!) and also a fantastic loaded sandwich with lots of meat, cheese and veggies.  It can hold up to a lot while remaining soft and light.   Love, love, love this recipe and you will too!

Honey Oatmeal Flax Bread
recipe courtesy Mostly Foodstuffs originally adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum
yields 1 loaf

1 1/4 cups + 2 Tbsp (11.5 oz) warm water
1/2 (1.3 oz) cups rolled oats
1/4 cup (1.3 oz) cracked flax seeds (you can buy a packaged flaxseed meal like this, or else take whole flax seeds and blitz them in a coffee or spice grinder)
2 cups (11.3 oz) bread flour
3/4 cup (4 oz) whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 Tbsp powdered milk
1 1/8 tsp instant yeast (or a scant 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast)
2 Tbsp (1.5 oz) honey
2 1/2 Tbsp (1.2 oz) neutral oil, like canola
2 tsp salt

Place the water, oatmeal and flax seeds in your mixing bowl, and let soak at least 15 minutes to hydrate. Sift together the flours, gluten, and milk powder (if using), and set aside.

After 15 minutes, sprinkle in the yeast (if using active dry yeast, let soften for a minute or two, but if using instant proceed to next step). Stir in the honey and oil, and then add the flour mixture. Knead for 3 minutes, then let rest for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the salt, and knead an additional 4 minutes. The dough will be quite moist and sticky, but will clear the sides of the bowl.

Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, swish around to distribute the oil on the bottom of the dough, then flip it over so the oiled portion is on top. Cover your container, and let rise until doubled.  This will take about 1 1/4 hours in a warm setting (inside an oven with the oven light turned on creates the perfect temperature for rising dough), longer in cooler settings.

When the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a rectangle, and let rest, covered (I like to use plastic wrap or a tea towel), for 15-20 minutes to let the gluten relax. Shape into a loaf (there's a nice pictorial here),and place into an oiled loaf pan.

The pictures of my bread here, I shaped into a braid.  This looks oh so pretty and rose beautifully.  It is very easy to do: separate your dough into three pretty equal pieces.  Roll into "worms" as my 4 year old calls it, and lay them side by side.  Now gently braid the dough, just as you would a child's hair.  Tuck the ends under and pinch to seal.  You can now bake free-form, just as is on a baking sheet, or carefully fit the braid into your bread pan for a nice sized sandwich bread (which is what I did here). If doing it the second way,  it will be a little under an inch shy of the top of the pan. Cover the loaf (Mostly Foodstuffs recommended placing it inside a plastic bag, never heard of this idea before, but it works great!), and let rise again in a warm spot until the dough is over an inch higher than the top of the pan, ~1 1/4 hours.

When the dough is about 40 minutes away from being fully risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and place a baking pan on the rack under where the bread will be. Slash the top of the loaf if you like that look, or leave plain. Mist the loaf with water, place in the oven, and toss a few ice cubes in your preheated pan to create steam , this creates a sustained moist cooking environment. Quickly shut the oven door, and lower the heat to 375. Bake for 20 minutes, rotate the loaf, and bake another 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  If the top of your loaf starts to become too dark too soon, just lightly cover it with a piece of tin foil.  This will stop it from darkening any further.

Remove the loaf from the oven, and tip out of the pan onto a rack to cool. The bread will continue to cook internally, so resist cutting it open until it is fairly cool.


  1. This looks amazing! Growing up, my mom always made homemade bread for us but after a few disasters when I was first married I've only recently worked up the nerve to give homemade breads another go. I've been looking for some recipes to try and this looks perfect. Thanks!

  2. Jen, please come back and let me know how it turned out.



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