You can’t beat fresh homemade bread or the intoxicating smells that fill your kitchen while it’s baking. Even better? When your warm and flavorful loaf is also really healthy for you. Carbs have a notoriously bad reputation, but these 6 recipes prove that a flavorful loaf of bread can provide you with a healthy dose of whole wheat, fiber, and protein. Which bread recipe are you going to try first?
1. Seeded Multigrain Boule
EatingWell‘s recipe uses whole wheat, seeds, and grains in this high-fiber, nutty-flavored bread. Something to keep in mind when you’re baking: a wide-bottomed pot will spread the loaf out, causing it to be fairly flat, while a taller, narrower one will cause the bread to be thicker and have more height. This recipe contains 198 calories per slice, 3 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber.
- ½ cup uncooked long-grain brown rice, preferably brown basmati
- 2½ cups whole-wheat flour, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
- 2 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more as needed
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
- 4 tablespoons roasted pepitas, or sunflower seeds, divided
- 3 tablespoons flaxseeds, preferably golden, divided
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds, divided
- 3 tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
- 2¼ teaspoons table salt
- 1¼ teaspoons instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
- 2½ cups ice water, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoons clover honey, or other mild honey
- 2 tablespoons liquid egg substitute, or 1 beaten egg white, for glazing
Directions: To mix the dough, grind rice in a blender or coffee mill (a food processor won’t work) until mostly powdery but with some fine bits remaining. Transfer to a 6-quart (or larger) bowl. Thoroughly stir in 2½ cups whole-wheat flour, 2 cups bread flour, oats, wheat germ, 2 tablespoons each pepitas (or sunflower seeds), flaxseeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds, then the salt and yeast.
Thoroughly whisk 2½ cups ice water and honey in a medium bowl. Vigorously stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the dough is thoroughly blended. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. (The seeds will absorb moisture, stiffening the dough as it stands.) If the mixture is too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t overmoisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough bread flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70 degrees Fahrenheit) for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise. Second rise: Generously coat a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven (or similar ovenproof pot) with oil. Coat the bottom and sides with 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour. Vigorously stir the dough to deflate it. If it is soft, stir in just enough flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir).
Transfer the dough to the pot. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour over the dough; pat and smooth it in. Firmly tuck the sides underneath all the way around to form a round ball of dough; dust with more flour as needed. Brush the loaf with egg substitute (or egg white) and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons pepitas (or sunflower seeds) and 1 tablespoon each flaxseeds, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds over the top (it will be heavily coated). Using well-oiled kitchen shears or a serrated knife, cut two ½-inch-deep concentric circles in the top of the loaf, one about 2½ inches out from the center, the other 3½ inches out. Put the lid on the pot or tightly cover with foil.
Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1¼ to 2¼ hours. Twenty minutes before baking the bread, position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Reduce oven temperature to 450 degrees. Lightly spritz or sprinkle the loaf with water. Bake, covered, on the lower rack until the top is lightly browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204 to 206 degrees Fahrenheit), 15 to 25 minutes longer. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm before slicing.