King Arthur October Bakealong: Everyday Whole Grain Bread

bread-cutting-board

Every month, King Arthur Flour posts a #bakealong challenge. This is a chance for people located anywhere in the country (or world!) to bake the same recipe and to share their creations.

Last month, Plenty Vegan veganized their September challenge: Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins. No need to veganize the recipe this month — it’s already vegan! This is a great reminder that so many foods out there are already vegan.

October’s Bakealong recipe is: Everyday Whole Wheat Bread. And, let’s just start by saying, in the case of this recipe, ‘everyday’ is not the word of some delusional expert bakers. This is truly a great starter bread recipe for the person who might be intimidated by working with yeast. Plus, it’s totally worth giving it a try because you get TWO loaves.

See for yourself below!


kneading-dough

There is nothing like working with yeasted dough. You have to give it a try. Look at that glutenous dough just ready to grow and fill bellies!

A couple of points to note:

Make sure you aren’t using old yeast. You’ll know if yeast is old or inactive is bubbles don’t form when you add the yeast to the warm sugar water.

As for kneading dough — it is not as tricky as some make it seem. In fact, King Arthur has some great videos on kneading and baking bread in general.

The key is: don’t get lazy. You need to knead (!) until the dough gets a bit shiny (or smooth) and springy. It really does start to take on a new texture and then it’s ready to sit in a warm place to rise.

BEFORE RISING:

prerise-dough

AFTER RISING:

risen-loaf

Checkout all that growth. So impressive!

Another helpful note: have you heard of Bee’s Wrap? It was gifted to the Plenty Vegan kitchen years ago and it is in constant rotation around here. Instead of oiling up plastic wrap and throwing it in the trash when you’re done, cover your dough with this cotton covered in bee’s wax. It’s reusable and it holds its shape so you’ll actually be able to wrap it around a bowl and have it stay (unlike plastic wrap).

bees-wrap

After the dough has risen, you have the option to simply separate the dough into two parts and shape into two loaves (or put the two parts in bread pans) OR… you can get fancy with it.

Braiding and seeding the bread seemed like a fun challenge around here. After separating the dough into two parts, each section was made into 3 snakes about the length of a bread pan so that they could be braided together.

three-strands

All you do is pinch the three strands together at the top and then braid them together, pinching the strands at the other end too.

Even if you’re not a seasoned bread braider, it ends up looking okay!

braided-bread

Seeded bread is not only scrumptious, it’s also super nutritious. Well worth the second challenge: seeding the braided loaves.

This was not a total success. Probably because the seeds needed to be pushed into the dough more. When all was said and done, they were really falling off the cooked loaves like crazy. Also, both loaves could have handled way more seeds.

Live and learn, people!

Anyway, you wet the bread with a spray bottle or a brush and sprinkle the seeds. If you are baking a dough that is pretty wet already, no need to wet the dough, but for this recipe, it needs some more moisture to stick the seeds.

Here, one loaf has pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds and the other has fennel and sesame seeds.

If you like fennel, put fennel seeds on your bread. It’s a special treat.

bread-cooling

After soaking in the beauty of two braided, seeded loaves that have risen for a half hour, those suckers are ready to be baked!

Ah the smell of fresh baked bread — better than any scented candle, for sure.

Give yourself a self-esteem boost and try your hand at this bread bakealong. You’ll be surprised at what comes out of your oven! Be sure to share your lovely loaves with the rest of us. Comment below or tag your pic with #plentyvegan on Instagram.

bread-basket

Originally published on Plenty Vegan.