Have you ever tried the High-Five Fiber Bread from The Great Harvest Bakery? It's so good and good for you!
My mom's immediate family is from Minnesota, and whenever we go there to visit, my aunt loads up on it. Unfortunately, there's no Great Harvest in Tucson, so I decided to try to recreate it!
This is definitely not a recipe for anyone with a sensitivity to gluten, as there is added gluten for texture. Although I understand being sensitive to the ingredient (we suspect my daughter Jade may be), it adds five grams of protein per tablespoon! That's quite a bit! It's on par with any protein powder you might purchase.
I've tried many bread recipes, and while they don't taste bad, they crumble easily, not lending themselves to be good loaves for a slather of peanut butter, much less a turkey sandwich.
This bread is not only whole wheat and packed full of nutrition from things like oat bran and flax seeds, but it's soft and doughy, without being undercooked, and it's perfect for sandwiches!
LAUREN'S BEST WHOLE WHEAT BREAD
1 c. warm water
1 T. sucanat (or a natural cane sugar or brown sugar)
2 T. honey (or maple syrup, if vegan)
1 T. milk (any kind will work)
2 t. active dry yeast
1 t. salt
2 T. oil (I like a combination of walnut and olive)
3 T. vital wheat gluten
pinch dried ginger
pinch ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder)
2 T. wheat bran
2 T. oat bran
2 T. millet
2 T. flax seeds
2 T. sunflower seeds
2-3 c. whole wheat flour, as needed
Mix warm water with sugar, honey, and milk. Sprinkle yeast over the top and let proof for about 5-10 minutes. Add in the gluten, ginger, ascorbic acid, salt, and oils. The ginger and ascorbic acid act as dough conditioners to help soften the loaf and maintain its shape once baked. Ascorbic acid is vitamin C, without any other additives.
The vital wheat gluten I use looks like this:
Once these things are incorporated, add in 1 cup of whole wheat flour. Then add 2 tablespoons of each: wheat bran, oat bran, millet, flax seeds, and sunflower seeds. You can substitute these ingredients as you wish (for example 4 T. of oat bran and no wheat bran), depending on your preference, but the variety gives the bread a nice taste and a nutritional punch. It also mimics that of the bread from Great Harvest. At this point, add in flour 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. I usually end up adding another 1 1/2 cups.
Knead until it is all incorporated well, about 5-10 minutes. Form a ball. Oil a bowl and place the ball in the bowl (after rolling it in the oil), cover the bowl and place it in a warm spot for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, the dough will look like this:
The dough will not double in size, it will just swell a bit. The addition of the gluten prevents a larger rise.
At this time, knead the dough into a rectangular shape. Take the short side (of the rectangle) and roll it like a cinnamon roll, pinching it closed as you go. Form it into a loaf shape, and put it in an oiled loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After the 30 minutes rise time, bake the loaf, uncovered, for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, place a piece of tented foil over the bread. This will prevent overbrowning. Bake the bread for another 10 minutes. After this time, remove bread from oven and cover it with a dish towel (while still in the pan) for about 5-10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the pan to avoid condensation build up and a loaf with a soggy bottom. Slice and enjoy!
Not all whole wheat flours are created equal, and some can impart a very dense loaf while others remain fluffier. In any case, this bread retains its taste and shape and is just plain delicious!
What's your favorite way to eat fresh bread?
I love mine slathered in a combination of coconut and olive oil.