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100% Whole Wheat Bread with Oats and Seeds

Makes one 1-1/2-pound or 2-pound loaf

This is my favorite homemade bread recipe. After several years of abstinence from making bread, mainly because I can get good bread at the regular grocery store, I decided to try it again. I wanted a totally whole grain bread without preservatives, white flour, saturated fats, too much sugar or salt. I did the research and this recipe which I developed is perfect. Basically, I am a lazy bread maker, so I have included two different methods using a bread machine. This is very good mixed and baked in the machine, but I prefer to us the dough cycle and bake the bread in the oven. It is a little more work, but I like to shape of the loaf and I think the resulting texture and crust are better. That being said, this bread can also be made using a large processor, heavy-duty stand mixer or by hand. See the notes below for additional tips. For something a little different that is based on this recipe, see the whole grain rye bread in the similar and related recipes links.

100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe Photo

   For a 1-1/2 pound loaf    For a 2 pound loaf

Method 1: Add the ingredients in the order suggested for your bread machine. Process using the whole wheat setting for a medium or dark crust, as desired.

Method 2: Add the ingredients in the order suggested for your bread machine and select the dough cycle. When the cycle is complete, remove the dough from the machine and place on a piece of parchment paper. Punch the dough down and roll into a rectangle about 12 x 15-inches. Tightly roll the rectangle, from the longest side, tapering ends slightly and folding them under. Pinch seams to seal and turn seams to the bottom. Transfer the parchment paper and bread to a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let rise in a draft-free area until doubled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Place a baking stone on the rack and preheat oven to 425° F. (If you do not have a baking stone, use a heavy baking sheet.) When the dough has doubled, spray the top lightly with water. Transfer the paper and bread to the oven. Bake until the bread is done, about 20 minutes for the 1-1/2 pound loaf, a little longer for the larger loaf. (Bread is done if, when you tap the bottom, it makes a thumping sound. Baking time will depend on the thickness of the loaf.) Transfer the bread to a cooling rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool before slicing.

Notes: If you prefer a lighter tasting, but still healthy bread, you can use all or part white whole wheat flour. Other seeds can be substituted for the flax or sesame, or they can be omitted, as well as the wheat germ. Even the oats can be omitted, but must be replaced with an equal amount of flour. If you can get whole wheat bread flour, use it in place of 1 cup of the other flour.

The secret to lower sodium bread is to also reduce the yeast a little, which is what I have done. If you are not accustomed to lower salt products, as my family is, double the salt, but use the full amount of yeast instead of the 'scant' amount called for. If you use a rapid-rise yeast (also called instant or bread-machine yeast), which I usually do, you will have better results if you only give the dough a 10 minute rest during the first rise, then shape the loaf and let fully rise until doubled before baking. This bread freezes very well for up to three months, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed in a sealable freezer bag.