Easy Molasses Wheat Bread

Easy Molasses Wheat Bread

I can't sell you on this bread by calling it gluten-free or vegan or Whole30-approved or "clean" or any of the other myriad dietary restrictions we're all using in January to make ourselves feel holier than our 2017 selves.  I can only tell you that it's easy to make and forgiving, as breads go - and that it toasts up really nicely regardless of how thick or thin you slice it, and makes an excellent topper for all manner of tartine fixings.  It has a crumb verging on quick bread, a delicate sweetness without being at all indulgent, and enough whole wheat to call it nutritional.  This recipe makes two small loaves, and you can slice and freeze one and use the other as a base for all the easy, healthy breakfasts you can think of, or slather them in butter and jam and call it dessert.  I don't think it will wreck any long term health plans and it might make your days a little more pleasant.

Witness the ongoing argument in our household about bread slicing methodology.

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So far I've topped this with:

  • sunflower butter + smashed blackberries
  • herbed goat cheese, proscuitto, micro greens + sliced peppers
  • salted butter + local honey
  • smashed avocado + olive oil + sumac
  • roasted red pepper hummus + fried egg (see above!)

Go crazy!  All of these were satisfying meals, both breakfast and lunch (ok, the honey version was dessert) and I suspect it would make a great grilled cheese, garlic bread, or bread pudding.  Pretty versatile.  Please give it a go and let me know if you've made any interesting tweaks or have suggestions on the best flour brands to try!  I've been using mainly Trader Joe's brand, but am curious for recommendations.

Molasses Wheat Bread

4 cups whole wheat flour

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 tbsp sugar

4 tsp salt

14 grams active dry yeast

1 1/2 cups water

3/4 cups milk*

1/3 cup molasses

1/3 cup unsalted butter

*I'm using 2% milk because that's what we keep around, but I'm sure whole milk would be lovely and maybe even better.  Would be curious to hear if anyone tries this with a nut mylk swapped in, and a vegan butter option.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both whole wheat and white flour.

Remove 2 1/2 cups of this flour mixture and place in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Combine in the sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. 

In a saucepan, combine water, milk, molasses and butter.  Heat over low heat until the liquids are warm and butter has mostly melted.  Do not scald or boil the milk!

Gradually mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture (2 1/2 cups flour + plus other dry ingredients that you mixed in a previous step), mixing for 2 minutes on medium speed.  Scrape your sides down as needed to get it fully combined.

Add in your remaining flour mixture by 1/2 cup increments, mixing each increment at 2 minutes on high speed before adding the next.

Once you've got a soft dough, swap out the mixer attachment for the dough hook. Knead this until smooth an elastic, adding more flour by the tablespoon if needed.

When this looks like delicious bread dough, let it raise in an oiled bowl until doubled.  Depending on the temperature of your house, this could take anywhere from an hour to overnight.  I have been putting mine in the oven on the "proof" setting for 3-5 hours, but our house runs cold.

After risen, punch it down and use a bench scraper to divide it in half.  Shape the halves into loaf shapes and place in greased bread loaf pans.  Cover these and let them raise again until doubled. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.  Let cool in their pans before slicing open.