I am a nerd and a freak, and sometimes I make my own bread. "Sweet Pea" over at Garden of Eatin' asked for a good wholegrain bread recipe. This is one I've used with great success in the past, and it's courtesy of Cooking Light magazine (October 2005). The recipe title is "Whoe Wheat Sunflower Oat Bread." It's somewhat complicated, because you have to make a sponge, but this helps lighten the texture of the bread -- this is the only homemade wholegrain bread I've found tender enough to use for things other than toast! (I have slightly altered the recipe to make it vegan.)
1 cup oat groats
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one package, NOT the rapid-rise stuff)
2 1/2 cups water at 110 to 115 degrees Farenheight (I measure with a digital thermometer)
2 tablespoons honey (you could use sugar or agave nectar, but I'd probably increase the amount to 3 tablespoons if you use sugar, since honey is twice as sweet as sugar)
2 teaspoons salt, divided
5 3/4 cups stone ground whole wheat flour, divided (I prefer whole wheat bread flour)
1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
1. Toast the groats in a 375 degree oven for 10 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. (I prefer the second option -- I think it's easier.) Cool.
2. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a medium bowl and let it stand 5 minutes. Add the honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. Add 3 cups flour to the yeast mixture, and stir well. Stir in the groats. Cover and let this mixture stand 1 hour at warm room temperature. (My favorite place to do this is in my "cold" gas oven -- the pilot light keeps it slightly warmer than room temperature.) The mixture will poof up and get bubbly -- this is called a "sponge."
4. Stir in remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and sunflower seeds to sponge. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until elastic, about 10 minutes. Add enough additional flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers -- it should feel smooth and slightly tacky, but not stick.
5. Place the dough in a large bowl that you've sprayed with cooking spray. Lightly spritz the top of the dough, and cover the dough with a sheet of plastic wrap, sticking it directly to the surface of the dough. Let the dough rise in a warm place again for an hour, or until it is double in size.
6. Punch the dough down and let it rest 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Press each dough ball out into a 14X7 inch rectangle. Roll up each rectangle snugly, starting with the short end, pressing to eliminate air pockets. Pinch the seams to seal them, and place the dough rolls seam-side down in two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch loaf pans that you've sprayed with cooking spray. Cover them and let them rise in a warm place until they are double in size, for about 30 minutes.
7. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheight. Uncover and bake the loaves for 40 minutes, or until the bottoms are browned and sound hollow when you tap on them with your finger. Cool the bread on a wire rack.