Healthy Wheat Bran Bread

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I heard once that baking is a science; that you have to be exact about all the measurements or it will easily be ruined. Perhaps it was my 8th grade Home-Ec teacher, Mrs Benson. I remember very vivedly the day we were making chocolate chip cookies. At that age, having 14 years experience standing on a chair next to my mom watching this be done, I had considered myself an expert at baking Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies, and the recipe was as good as branded into my memory. In class I drew from my years of experience, and measured out the all-purpose flour using the technique I learned from my mother: I dipped the measuring cup into the bag and pulled out a mound of flour. I tapped the dull edge of a butter knife along the top of the heaping and scraped off the excess. My teacher walked over, took the cup from my hand and dumped its contents back into the flour bag. She said by tapping the cup I was packing the flour which would throw off the ratios in the recipe. I had done this a thousand times, I thought to myself. Don’t tell me what to do lady!

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So, I am not a Peter Reinhart. I’m sure that baking is more complicated, especially when you’re making sourdough, or recipes that require special starters or a complicated “sponge”. I’m sure it makes perfect sense to weigh out flour instead of measuring it — in those instances. Call me amateur (I am), but for me it doesn’t. I can only find instant yeast here in Guatemala, and I wouldn’t know where to look for a sourdough starter. I’m working the simple stuff here. And if I’m a cup short of flour, like I was the other day, I might just use oatmeal that I’ve ground in my processor. It works for me. I like it. I like every load turning out just a little differently. Generally I don’t like measuring things out exactly. It takes away the fun, and its more dishes to wash. I like to be able to eye my dough and “feel” that it is right. So this that I am posting today is generally the recipe that I follow. But to be honest, I it has changed a bit every time. But this was approximately the loaf I made, which has provided a spring board for the rest. It is a mild and sweet loaf, and sometimes I don’t want to feel the sweetness, so I’ll use half the sugar, and also a tad less salt for a proper balance. It is very healthy, and I don’t feel bad cutting off a huge chunk of it off right after it comes out of the oven and dipping it into a pool of olive oil and herbs. It’s all good for you.

Sarah’s Healthy Whole Wheat Bran Bread:
3 cups whole wheat flour, reserve 1/2 cup for kneading
1 cup wheat bran
3 tablepoons honey
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons olive oil (I’ve used butter at times too)
1 3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast

Mix the water, milk, honey, sugar, oil in a microwave safe bowl. Warm it all up for 60 seconds, just to disolve everything together nicely. Mix in 2 cups of the flour, salt, yeast and all the bran. Add the rest of the flour. It may be very sticky. Mine usually is, so when I begin to kneed it I keep adding more and more flour until it stops sticking to my hands. If it continues to stick after more kneading, I add more. Kneed no less than 10 minutes. I guess you could do this in our mixer with the hook attachment. I don’t have that, so on days I make bread I don’t lift my pathetic 10 pound weights in the morning. Let it rise for 1 hour. Punch it down, shape it and put it into a loaf pan. Let it rise another 30 -45 minutes. Put it in a preheated oven at 350 for 40 minutes, or sometimes longer. Again, I use a toaster oven, so cooking times are probably different for us.

It is yummy. And healthy. Try it.

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2 Responses

  1. It works for me. I like it. I like every load turning out just a little differently. Generally I don’t like measuring things out exactly. It takes away the fun, and its more dishes to wash.

    Amen to that! 🙂

  2. […] garlic spread, zucchini tatziki, an assortment of cheeses, ect. Yum!! Bread-base suggestions: my healty bran bread, homemade or packaged pizza dough, a simple dough of flour water and olive oil (see above), or even […]

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