This is, by far, my favourite bread to bake! I made a bit of a hodgepodge recipe from a few different ones I’ve tried and for the last 3 years or so, this has consistently been my go-to. It’s tasty, nutritious and makes lovely toast. And boy, do I love toast!
This recipe makes one generous sized loaf but doubles very well.
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp or 1 pkg dry active yeast
2 tbsp oil (I usually use grape seed, but any plant oil will do fine)
2 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
Extra flour for dusting
In a large mixing bowl (or your stand mixer bowl) combine the yeast, sugar, water and oil. Let it bloom for 15 minutes or so until it’s nice and frothy/bubbly looking.
Add in your your salt, oats, flax seed, whole wheat flour and the 1 1/2 cups of your all purpose flour. Mix until combined into a wet dough. Feel free to incorporate some extra flour in if you feel your dough is too wet. Your dough will happily soak up any extra flour you add though so try not to overdo it. Too much extra will make your dough drier and heavier. I promise, the wet dough will become easier to work as you knead it.
Knead your dough by hand on a lightly floured surface or with a dough hook attachment on your mixer for around 10 minutes. Everyone and every mixer is different and it could take shorter or longer than that. The dough will let you know when it’s ready. It’ll feel smooth and stretchy and won’t tear when you try to pull it apart. Notice the difference between the two images below?
Once you’re dough is ready, place it in an oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel. Let it rise until it’s doubled in size. Our house is usually quite warm so it only takes around an hour. Once you dough has risen, punch it down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead it by hand for a minute or so. Feel free to recruit a helper.
Shape the dough into a loaf and place in an oiled bread pan. Preheat you oven to 400F. Cover the loaf with your tea towel and let it proof until the dough has risen up to an inch or so above the loaf pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until your crust is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it.
If you want better oven-rise and a crispier (and more delicious) crust, you can try this neat trick: When I preheat my oven, I put an empty baking sheet on the bottom rack and let it get hot with the oven. Then I put my loaves in to bake, I pour a cup of hot water into the hot, empty pan to steam them. The steam keeps your bread softer during the first bit of baking, letting your it rise without bulging or cracking your crust. Then the extra moisture helps caramelize the surface sugars on the bread, creating a deliciously crispy, golden crust.
Remove your delicious looking bread from the oven and pop them out of the pans. Let them cool on a rack or tea towel.