A couple of weeks ago, I made this Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread for my mom for the first time. I usually like to stick to the recipe the first time around, so I surrendered to the call for 1 cup white flour.
I ended up loving the bread and, since it was so simple, I decided it would be good morning toast bread. I usually eat Ezekiel or Silver Hills' Steady Eddie sprouted bread, but it's quite expensive and with my trip to Europe drawing nearer, every penny counts. Though I could stand to eat un-sprouted bread for a while, I could not stand to eat white flour. So, I decided it would be fun to try and change the recipe to 100% whole wheat, while maintaing its light, toast-able texture and without complicating the recipe too much.
I Googled information about making bread and the ideal flour. The following is probably not news to a lot of people, but, bear with me, I am learning and this is what I have gathered so far...
- Gluten is the key to chewy, well-structured bread. When kneaded, it forms protein strands that capture the gas released from the leavener, helping the bread rise and create a desirable texture. I had first intended to use spelt flour, because I have a bunch to use up before I move out of this house, but I learned it has low gluten levels and the tendency for weak formation of protein, which leads to a crumbly, dense bread (which I can remember from making Spelt Bread). So, on with my search...
- Unfortunately, while whole wheat flour has gluten and is useable, remnants of the nutritionally important bran interfere with the formation of the protein strands, resulting in a denser loaf.
- What a surprise, I came full circle. White bread flour is ideal for bread making—it has plenty of gluten and nothing to interfere with its formation for a chewy, well-structured bread.
However, I was set on making this a 100% whole wheat bread and if Silver Hills could make delicious bread without white flour, so could I. So, I started to gather information for baking with whole wheat flour...
- First and simplest, I used whole wheat bread flour instead of regular wheat flour, for the extra gluten.
- To compensate for the less than ideal characteristics of whole wheat flour's bran, I also added about 7 grams of gluten flour to my dry ingredients. I read you can add about 1-2 Tbsp for every 2-3 cups of white flour you replace.
- I also read that wheat flour is "thirstier" than white flour, and sources recommended adding a 1/4 cup of liquid for every cup of white flour replaced. Although I did this, it resulted in a much stickier dough...I ended up having to "dust" my loaf with so much flour, to keep it from sticking to my table, that I probably cancelled the extra liquid out.
- I think the most important step I took was so be very careful and accurate with my yeast. I used a thermometer to ensure the proper temperature and waited the full 10 minutes. When I went to check on it, it was huge...so much bigger than the first time I made this bread.
- I set my dough on top of my dehydrator while it rested. I would have put it inside, but I was making raisins...yum
|Whole wheat flour (left) vs. white flour (right)|
- Joe Pastry: Flour Basics
- OChef: Baking Bread with Spelt Flour
- Simple Bites: Tips for Working with Whole Wheat Flour
- The Family Kitchen: Tips for Baking with Whole Wheat Flour
- The Kitchn: How to Make Softer and Fluffier Whole Wheat Bread
Whole Wheat Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread
(adapted from Oatmeal Sandwich Bread)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 2 cups water
- 45 grams honey
- 540 grams whole wheat bread flour
- 7 grams gluten flour
- 120 grams oats
- 20 grams butter, softened
- 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon*
- 2 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
* I realize I only used 2 tsp of cinnamon in the original trial of this recipe, but I really wanted the cinnamon to be able to stand up to the almond butter I knew I'd be eating with it. It worked both ways, so it's up to you to decide how much cinnamon you want.
1. Combine yeast with 2 cups of water at 100F and the honey. Stir gently and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.
2. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients and add butter.
3. Add dry to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
4. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough. Continue to knead until dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 15 minutes. Add flour as needed.
5. Shape your dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for about an hour, or until it's doubled in size.
6. Once the hour is up, plop your dough onto a lightly floured surface and form your loaf:
- Flattened the dough into a rectangle, making sure any air bubbles were gone
- Fold it in three
- Tuck in the edges and roll the dough to form a loaf shape. Stuff into bread pan, lined with parchment paper
7. Cover your loaf with a damp cloth and let rise for another hour, or until it's increased in size by half.
8. Place loaf in oven, preheated to 400F and bake for 35 minutes, rotating halfway through.
9. To make sure it is baked through, tap the bottom for a hollow sound. Let loaf cool completely before cutting, allowing crust and flavours set.
Since I am eating it everyday, I tried to roughly calculate the nutritional information...
Per 50 grams (about one slice)
Fat: 1.3 g
Fiber: 3.5 g
Protein: 3.8 g