Diving into the sphere of homemade yeasted bread-making took me a while to pursue; I’ve taken a few tentative steps over the years, but now I’m determined to take the plunge.
Those who know me are aware of my love affair with bread, but I’ve noticed that even some of my favorite “healthy” brands have unnecessary ingredients in them; thus my interest in baking my own bread with nothing but yeast, whole grains, unrefined sweeter, a bit of unsaturated fat, and a touch of salt. No refined sugar. No refined flour. No preservatives or hydrogenated oils. No soy products.
One of my go-to homemade bread recipes is a partial whole wheat version of Jim Lahey’s No Knead Bread, made famous by Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times. Although this bread is delicious, I wanted to push myself with the challenge of mastering a few recipes for 100% whole wheat yeasted bread.
Although I won’t claim to have mastered this recipe, (it didn’t rise as much as I’d hoped), my version of Anadama bread fulfills my previously mentioned requirements for a homemade loaf.
The flavor, which is slightly sweet and rich, perfectly fits the bill; the texture, which exceeded my expectations, is hearty, moist, and dense with a touch of crunch from the cornmeal. The bread slices beautifully, rendering it ideal for sandwiches, french toast, and panini. The molasses imparts a dark amber color as well as a robust sweetness that pairs well with both savory sandwich fillings and sweet spreads.
I admit that I initially harbored reservations about sharing this post due to the disappointing short stature of the bread, (and therefore rather lackluster photos); but after tasting the bread, I concluded that looks can be deceiving, as the flavor and texture were spot-on.
100% Whole Wheat Anadama Bread
yield: 1 loaf, about 14-18 slices
adapted from this recipe
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 (0.25 oz) package active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110°F)
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- canola oil cooking spray
NOTE: Bread made with whole wheat flour needs a little more love (in the form of kneading) and time (in the form of rising) than bread made with white flour.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine 1/2 cup water and cornmeal; whisk continuously until it starts to thicken, about 30-60 seconds. Reduce heat to low and whisk in canola oil and molasses. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, scatter yeast over 1/2 cup warm (110°F) water. Let sit until foamy; about 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, (or a large mixing bowl), combine the cooled cornmeal mixture with the yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add the whole wheat flour and the salt; mix well with paddle attachment (or a wooden spoon if using a mixing bowl). Add the white whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Once the dough has pulled together, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it with your hands.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Lightly coat a large bowl (I use the bowl of my stand mixer) with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover and put in a warm place to rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (I like to place the bread on top of the heating oven).
- Place dough on a clean work surface and roll out into a rectangle (about 12 x 7 inches). Starting with a short end, fold the dough into thirds. Pinch seams closed. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Bake for about 28-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.
- Turn loaf out onto a wire rack and let cool before slicing and serving.
- Store bread in the refrigerator, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and sealed in a zip-top plastic bag.