A version of this post has appeared on Whole Food Vegan.
This bread is 100% whole wheat and contains no refined sugar, salt, oil, meat, or dairy. Since I have been eating a plant-based diet I often wonder why I ever added such things to real food in the first place! Whole wheat bread is an outstanding source of fiber, carbohydrate, calcium, iron, and a good source of plant protein and the mineral selenium. The starch in whole grains like 100% whole wheat flour is converted to glycogen, which the body then preferentially uses as its first source of fuel. This recipe is for a loaf of bread, but you can make whole wheat rolls as well. Just shape the dough into rolls after the second rise, put them on a baking sheet and let rise 25 minutes or until they are the desired size. Bake rolls for about 30 minutes instead of 45-50 minutes for the loaf.
Pre-heat the oven and set the bowl of dough or loaf pan on top of the oven to rise. The heat from the oven will help the dough rise quicker and better.
Be sure to knead the dough for a full 10 minutes. When flour and water are combined the gliadin and glutenin proteins in the flour expand and form strands of gluten, which gives bread its texture. Kneading warms and stretches the gluten strands in the dough, which becomes springy and elastic. If bread dough is not kneaded enough, it will not be able to hold the tiny pockets of gas (CO2) created by the yeast and will collapse, leaving a heavy and dense loaf. Since we are using 100% whole wheat flour the knead time is a little longer than other recipes that use more processed “bread flour.” Bread flour contains more protein which aids in the production of gluten strands.
The dough will be sticky and wet. If it sticks to your hands too much during kneading, just add a little more flour.
Vegan Oil-free Whole Wheat Bread Recipe
By Chelsea Ihnacik
Yield: 1 loaf
warm water: 1 1/2 cups
dry active yeast: 1 tsp
100% whole wheat flour: 4 cups
agave, date, or maple syrup to activate the yeast: 1 tbsp
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the water into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle on the yeast and add the sweetener. Stir to combine then let sit 10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon, until smooth. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
3. Once the dough has doubled in size, add 1 1/2 cups more flour, a little bit at a time, stirring until the flour is combined and the dough is no longer sticky.
4. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of flour out onto a large clean surface. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth.
5. Place the dough into a large bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
6. After the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it a few times to release any air bubbles. Shape the dough into an oval shape.
7. Place the dough into a 9×5 loaf pan (silicone preferred to prevent sticking), cover and let rise another 25 minutes. The dough should rise about an inch above the top of the loaf pan.
8. Bake the loaf for 45-50 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool a while before removing from the pan. Cool completely before slicing.
Also by Chelsea: 3 Ways to Cook Without Oil
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Photo: Chelsea Ihnacik