I haven’t been baking bread as often as I used to for a variety of reasons, but I did the other day and remembered how much I enjoy it. Baking bread, to me, nourishes far more than the body. And it is really easy to do once you master the basics. Thus said, because bread is a big portion of my diet I am always attempting to find a healthier one. Whole wheat flour is a given, but I often add beans to bread doughs as well. A good example of this is my version of Ezekiel bread, which is still the most visited recipe on this blog. In this recipe I used white beans and flax seed. For simplicity I used canned beans. Interestingly, once the dough is kneaded the beans emulsify into the dough and you won’t even notice them. But they do offer added richness to the dough, not to mention nutrients. Anyhow, the recipe is below.
Whole Wheat Bread with White Beans and Flax
Makes 2 or 3 loaves
1 (15oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
½ cup ground flax seed
2 cups water
¼ cup olive oil
3 teaspoons kosher
1 tablespoon instant yeast
Place two bowls side-by-side; one will hold the pre-ferment, the other autolyse. In one bowl combine the rinsed and drained beans with 1 cup water, 2 cups whole wheat flour, and 2 teaspoons instant yeast. Stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap. In the other bowl combine 4 cups whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, ½ cup flax, and 2 cups water; stir it just until combined then cover it with plastic wrap (take care not to get yeast into this bowl). Allow the bowls to rest at room temperature for about an hour, during which time the preferment will begin it’s job multiplying yeast and fermenting flour, and the autolyse will soak liquid, swelling the gluten.
After an hour or so, combine the ingredients from both bowls into the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the olive oil, salt, and tablespoon of yeast (add the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl). Knead the dough on medium speed for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled container, cover it loosely, and allow to ferment for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Deflate the dough and allow it to ferment an additional 30 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces. Shape into loaves and place into lightly oiled pans. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and allow to ferment for 30-60 minutes, or until double in size and when gently touched with a fingertip an indentation remains.
Bake the breads for about 30-40 minutes, adding steam to the oven a few times (either with ice cubes or a spray bottle) and rotating the breads every ten minutes. The breads are done when they are dark brown and sound hollow when tapped upon. Remove the breads from their pans and allow them to cook on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.