I had a taste of this bread at a friend’s house a few weeks ago and immediately asked for the recipe. I like flax seed, and think it is under-used. In addition to being slightly nutty in flavor it is very good (omega 3s and fiber and all that) for one, as I understand it, and it can be added happily to smoothies, soups, yogurt, and a vast array of baked goods.
I’ve reworked the recipe a bit. The original made 4 loaves, and since this bread does not keep well past a day or so (no oil/butter/fat, so no longevity) I’ve cut the recipe in half with a few minor alterations (one loaf to eat, one to share, of course).
This is a very fast and easy yeast bread. I started a batch around 6:30 this morning and had semi-cooled bread with lunch. The end result is chewy but not gummy, medium dense, slightly sweet, and toasts very well.
A couple of thoughts on this recipe and baking in general. Warm water means warm (not hot) to the touch. Yeast is a living thing and is susceptible to heat and cold. It is very happy being bathed in water about the temperature of what you’d feed a baby. If you have a coffee grinder or spice grinder, please grind your own flax seed. Flax seed loses its flavor and can go rancid pretty quickly once it is ground, but the seeds, whole, are good for a loooong time. Do not start something you don’t have time to finish. You just can’t rush bread. You can, however, slow it down by putting the dough, covered, in the fridge if some emergency arises.
Whole Wheat Honey Flax Bread
1 tsp honey
1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/2 cups warm water
1/3 C honey
1/2 T salt
1/2 C flax seed (measure whole, then grind)
2-3 C whole wheat flour
2-3 C white bread flour
1T olive oil (for bowl)
Put 1/2 cup warm water and 1 tsp honey in a large bowl. Stir to mix, then sprinkle the yeast onto the liquid. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until there is a foamy “head” on top of the water. (picture 1)While the yeast is proofing, grind the flax seed, combine it with 2 C white flour and 2 C whole wheat flour, whisk to mix well. Once the yeast is proofed, add the remaining 1-1/2 cups warm water, 1/3 cup honey, and the salt to the yeast mixture in the bowl. Mix well. Add 2 cups of the flour/flax mixture to the bowl. Mix for a minute or two until you have a nice pancake batter-like consistency. Add flour a cup at a time and incorporate and the dough will start to form. (picture 2) Continue to add flour until the dough pulls cleanly from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board or countertop. Let it rest while you wash and dry the bowl. Dry the bowl *very* thoroughly, add the 2T of olive oil, rub it over the insides of the bowl and set aside.
Don’t bother washing your hands. (How often to do you see *that* in cooking instructions?) Add a bit more flour if needed, and knead the bread for just a few minutes until it is a bit elastic but still slightly sticky. Put it in the bowl and turn it a time or two to cover it with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a clean damp (not wet) dish towel. Place the bowl in a nice warm spot to rise. Let dough double in size, about 50 – 60 minutes.
When doubled in size, punch down the dough (picture 3) and place it on a cutting board.
Cut the dough into 2 equal sections. Shape each piece into a ball, place on lightly floured waxed paper or parchment, cover with the damp towel, and let rise again for about 10 minutes. While the dough is rising, get out 2 medium bread pans (I use Pyrex pans) and spray with non-stick spray. Flatten each dough ball and form a rough rectangle. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, trying to avoid air pockets as you roll. After rolling it up, pinch the ends and seam closed and drop the loaf seam-side down into your pans.Place the pans in a warm spot with a towel covering them for about 50 minutes. The dough should rise almost to the same height the baked bread will be – just above the top of the pan. At about the 30-minute mark, pre-heat the oven to 400°.
Place pans in oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake for another 20 minutes. Bread is done when it’s nice and brown on top and makes a hollow sound when you tap on it with your finger.
Cool thoroughly (or for as long as you can stand it) and enjoy!