If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that I do love to bake bread (I like to eat it too!). As much as I love freshly baked bread some recipes take more time and effort than others. Since I don’t have unlimited time for baking, I’ve had to search for a bread recipe which meets the following criteria:
- Quick to make with only one rise
- Improved nutritional value from whole grains without being dense or bitter
- Additional taste, texture, and nutrition from seeds and grains
- Freezes well so I can have some on hand without having to bake
The recipe that I am sharing in this post meets all of these requirements and has become my go-to quick and easy loaf. This one is great for sandwiches (grilled ham and cheese anyone?) or toast. In addition to baking it for my personal consumption, I often like to take along a baked offering when visiting friends or family. One of my uncles raves about this bread, so I try to make it whenever I know I’ll see him.
I originally found the recipe for Michelle’s Harvest Grains Loaf a couple of years ago. The recipe was originally written for a bread machine, so I have adapted the technique for my KitchenAid stand mixer and made a couple of tweaks based on my learnings from baking with Rose’s Bread Bible over the years. I’ve also made a few modifications to the ingredients. The most significant one is the addition of vital wheat gluten which enables me to achieve the light texture I wanted even though the recipe uses whole grains and seeds. I use the Bob’s Red Mill product because it does the job and is readily available at my local supermarket or at Whole Foods.
The hero ingredient in this recipe is the harvest grains blend. I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere else. It is super tasty and filled with goodies like poppy seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and oats. I was absolutely heartbroken last year when I accidentally ended up with almost a whole two-pound bag worth of the mix on my kitchen floor. Apparently, the lid on the canister wasn’t on securely, I didn’t have a firm grip, and the rest is history. I had to turn around and immediately reorder, but fortunately, there was a reduced price shipping deal at the time. The grain blend is really important to the success of this recipe so I recommend ordering it just for this recipe, although there are several other recipes on the King Arthur site you can try in order to get more use out of the product. One other recipe I’ve used it in with good success is for Harvest Grain Buns (dinner rolls) which were a hit on our Thanksgiving table.
- 1 1/3 cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup Harvest Grains Blend
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 cup King Arthur Premium Whole Wheat Flour or White Whole Wheat (I normally use the white whole wheat, but the regular works fine too)
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast — I use the SAF Red Instant from King Arthur
- 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten
- In the workbowl of your electric stand mixer, i.e. a KitchenAid combine all of the dry ingredients, except the salt by hand to distribute the ingredients. With the machine on low speed, pour in the water, oil, and sweetener until a rough dough forms.
- Cover the workbowl with a towel and let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, add the salt and knead the dough by machine on medium-high for 7 minutes. You should now have a smooth supple dough like the image below.
- Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ bread pan.
- Shape the dough into a log and place it in the pan.
- Allow the loaf to rise, covered, until it’s crowned about 1″ over the rim of the pan. In my experience, with the yeast specified above, I typically am ready to bake within 45 minutes. I forgot to set my timer, so the results shown here were after a 60-minute rise.
- While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the bread’s interior temperature registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove the bread from the oven, remove it from the pan, and cool it on a wire rack.
- Store, well-wrapped, for 5 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to 3 months.