100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

What’s that? You think it’s been a long time since I posted a bread recipe, and you’ve been dreaming of finding that perfect homemade 100% whole wheat sandwich bread recipe? Yup, I could sense your needs and cravings, and I’m here to help!

Actually, I’ve been flipping between making our marbled rye loaf and this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread for the last few months. Each holds a special place in my tummy, but this whole wheat sandwich bread is always a personal favourite. It was one of the first types of bread I started making years ago, and once I figured out a few key steps, it never fails to disappoint. It’s slightly sweet and not at all dry or stodgy, like some whole wheat breads can be. It freezes well and toasts up like a dream. What more could you ask for?

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If you feel like you’re unsure about diving into a 100% whole wheat loaf, start with a 50-50 mix of whole wheat and white, unbleached bread flour, then keep pushing up the whole wheat content until you find a loaf you love.

This recipe makes 1 loaf and uses 400 g of flour. So, start with 200 g of whole wheat and 200 g of white. I’ve found a nice middle-of-the-road whole wheat bread will use 300 g of whole wheat and 100 g of unbleached bread flour.

A few tips for making a 100% whole wheat sandwich bread:

  1. Whole wheat flour can soak up a tonne of liquid. When you initially start kneading this dough, you will think it is too wet and sticky, and will really want to add more flour. DON’T! I’ve done it before, and the result is not pretty. Give the dough time to rest and absorb all the liquid.
  2. In order to make whole wheat bread nice and soft, you need to knead the bread for a long time OR you can use a bit of a cheats method. Have you ever heard of the stretch-and-fold method of kneading? If not, keep reading!
  3. Give the dough time to rise. Sometimes I find I have to wait longer to see the dough dome over the top of the pan. This is okay! Patience yields fantastic bread.

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The Stretch-and-Fold Method:

No, we’re not talking about your daily yoga routine (although, it would be a good name)! This is a way of coaxing the bread to develop more gluten and structure, without needing a lot of kneading time (haha). It’s also a great way to deal with dough that’s on the wet, sticky side.

Basically, you start with a round ball of (probably sticky) dough on the counter. Use wet or oiled hands to gently stretch one side of the dough out, then fold it back over the dough. Do the same with all four sides (think north, south, east, west). After you’ve stretched and folded each side of the dough, turn it over and tuck it into a nice little ball. Cover it with a bowl and leave it sit for 10 minutes.

You’re going to do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, waiting 10 minutes in between. So this process will take you 30 minutes. Each time you finish a stretch-and-fold, the dough should feel much more elastic and less sticky. By the end, you’ll have a nice, soft ball of dough!

If you’d like to see this in action, check out this little video from the bread-master, himself.

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Timing options for baking your whole wheat bread:

  1. Bake it the same day: Shape it into a log shape, and place it into a parchment-lined loaf pan. Leave it in a warm place to rise until the dough domes over the top of the pan by about 2 cm (1 inch). Then, bake away.
  2. Leave it overnight, and bake the next day: Shape the dough and place it into the parchment-lined loaf pan, but then cover it with plastic and put it in the fridge overnight. Then, bake in the morning.
  3. Leave it for a few days before baking: You can leave the dough in the fridge for up to 4 days, unshaped in a tighly-sealed bowl. Whenever you want to bake the bread, give yourself a few hours, for the dough to warm up, be shaped and rise. Then, bake away.

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If you’re looking to boost the nutrients of your morning toast or your daily sandwich, give this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread a try. You might be pleasantly surprised!

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 120 g (1/2 cup) water
  • 140 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) milk
  • 7 g (1 pkg) instant yeast
  • 400 g whole wheat flour
  • 35 g brown sugar
  • 45 g vegetable oil
  • 5 g salt
Instructions
  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the milk and water for about 35 seconds, to make it lukewarm. Stir in the yeast and leave it sit for 5 minutes to bubble up while you're measuring the other ingredients.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whole wheat flour, brown sugar, vegetable oil and salt. Pour in the yeast liquid and use the dough hook attachment to mix the bread until the dough just starts to combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and leave the bread sit for 5 minutes, to start to absorb all the liquid.
  3. Knead the dough with the dough hook, on low speed, for 6 to 7 minutes. The dough should be soft and sticky.
  4. Increase the speed to medium and knead for another 4 minutes. If the dough is extremely sticky, add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, but otherwise, the dough will be slightly sticky.
  5. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured or oiled counter top. Complete 1 round of stretch-and-fold, tuck the dough into a ball and cover it with a bowl for 10 minutes. Repeat the stretch-and-fold (with 10 minute wait) another 3 times. So you will do the stretch-and-fold a total of 4 times, over the course of 30 minutes.
Bread baking times
  1. If you want to bake the bread immediately, roll the dough into a log shape and place into a parchment-lined 8-inch loaf pan. Leave to rise in a draft-free location until the dough just domes over the edge of the pan (30 to 60 minutes).
  2. If you want to bake the bread the next morning, roll the dough into a log shape and place into the parchment-lined pan. Cover with plastic and place in the fridge overnight. In the morning, allow the bread to warm up while you pre-heat the oven.
  3. If you want to wait a few days before baking the bread, leave the dough unshaped in a tightly-sealed bowl, for up to 4 days. On the day of baking, remove the dough from the fridge at least 2 hours before baking. Allow the dough to come up to room temperature before shaping and placing into the pan.
  4. In all cases, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. When finished, the loaf should be nicely browned on top and sound slightly hollow, when tapped on the bottom.

Enjoy this 100% whole wheat sandwich bread!

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans

How was your Easter? Did you eat yourself into a frenzy? We came precariously close 🙂 As such, this pot of simple, herb-marinated beans is definitely needed this week. It’s light and fresh (because spring is trying to appear), full of protein (to keep you away from all the leftover chocolate) and it lasts all week in the fridge (making your lunch or dinner choices so much easier).

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I was working from home one day last week and didn’t have any leftovers to eat up for lunch, which sent me on a minor food-hunt around the apartment. Aside from some herbs and tomatoes, the fridge was looking fairly bare. But a quick nose around the pantry turned up a few cans of beans, and some shallots. From that, this bowl of really tasty herb-marinated beans was born, just in time for lunch!

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I started with one can of butter beans (those gigantic ones) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough, so tossed in a can of cannellini beans as well. I love how big and meaty these beans are, and this salad makes a great base for many additions. Cucumber or peppers would be great, or even thinly sliced mushrooms. Just don’t skimp on the herbs. Everything is marinated in a fragrant herby vinaigrette which, when piled on a piece of toasted bread, makes for a perfect lunch.

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The beans have been sitting in our fridge for the last 4 or 5 days and everyday, they always seem to taste just a little bit better. That’s what I love about salads like this – they’re easy to make and last more than an hour in the fridge.

We’ve eaten them on toasted bread, on their own as a salad, and even tossed in with roasted veggies for a tasty kick. I love it when an almost-empty fridge surprises me like this 🙂

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Simple Herb-Marinated Beans
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
These healthy herb-marinated beans are easy to make, full of protein, and bursting with flavour.
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot, finely diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 cans of beans (398 mL each), drained and thoroughly rinsed (I used butter beans and cannellini)
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ cup finely chopped herbs (I used cilantro and mint)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix the chopped shallot, fresh ginger, dried red chili flakes and white wine vinegar. Leave it to sit for 5 minutes while you are prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Place the beans, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss to combine.
  3. Add the shallot mixture to the beans and mix thoroughly.
  4. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes, to allow the flavours to meld.
  5. Serve as a side salad, or on top of toast or bread.
Notes
In a tightly-sealed container, this salad will last in the fridge up to one week.

Enjoy these simple herb-marinated beans!

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Double Chocolate Chili Muffins

On the weekends, Jonty is my resident muffin-man. It’s his one baking luxury of the week – he loves to bake them, and I love to eat them, so it’s a win-win situation, really. Around mid-week, he asks if I have any requests; often, it’s a slight modification to the previous weeks muffins. For the past month or so, he’s been making tweaks to these double chocolate chili muffins, and I think he’s mastered them! They’ve got a sky-high muffin top, are studded with big chocolate chunks, and have the perfect warming heat at the end of your bite.

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Now, before we scare you off with the name, just know that these chocolate chili muffins can be made to tailor to your spice tolerance completely.

  1. If you really like chocolate and love a bit of kick to your food: Follow the recipe as stated.
  2. If you really like chocolate but have uber-sensitive taste buds: Leave out the chilis completely.
  3. If you really like chocolate, but you’re not sure how awesome the chocolate + chili combo is: Start with fewer chilies, one say.

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What I love about these muffins is that you just taste a simple chocolate muffin in your first bite. Maybe you’ve hit a jack-pot chocolate chunk, and you’re in chocolate heaven. Then you wonder what that other subtle flavour is? So you have another bite, then you get a lovely warmth on the back of your tongue – that’s the little chili kick at the end. It’s really a great combination of flavours!

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Jonty still follows his basic muffin ratio quantity and I think this is a great base for any chocolate chunk muffin:

1 part egg : 1 part sugar : 2 parts liquid : 2 parts flour : 1 part butter : 1 part add-ins

For anyone not aware of how these ratios work, we’ve talked about it before (here and here and here), but essentially it really makes for an easy way to bake and to scale recipes. The only caveat is, you need a kitchen scale. And if you don’t have one already, and love to bake, you really should invest in one! You can pick up a decent one for less than $25.

The ratio recipes will usually start with the weight of a large egg, which will be around 50 g. For this recipe, we’re using 2 eggs, which usually comes out to 100 g. All the other ingredients scale from there.

So for 100 g of eggs, you’ll need 100 g of sugar, 200 g of milk, 200 g of flour… You’re catching my drift? It’s math, but it’s easy math. Honest!

It doesn’t take long to figure out how awesome it is to bake from a recipe using weight measurements versus measuring cups. In most cases, you only need one bowl – and when you don’t have a dishwasher, less time in the sink is always a good thing. The other benefit to baking with ratios is that it makes for scaling recipes up or down, a breeze!

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So, if you don’t have one, go out and purchase your first kitchen scale, then make these muffins as a reward for being such a smart baker.

From taste-testing experience, these muffins are fantastic with your morning/afternoon coffee or tea and taste excellent on their or with a dollop of raspberry jam 🙂

Double Chocolate Chili Muffins
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 100 g (2 large) eggs
  • 200 g milk
  • 100 g granulated sugar
  • 150 g cake and pastry flour
  • 50 g dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 100 g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 100 g (1 medium) ripe banana
  • 2 - 3 red thai chilis, chopped (optional, depending on heat sensitivity)
  • 100 g dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 7 g baking powder
  • 7 g baking soda
  • chopped walnuts, for the topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Measure out all your ingredients before-hand. Melt the butter and leave it to cool slightly.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl, or stand-mixer bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk until frothy. Add in the sugar and vanilla and whisk on high speed, until the mixture is foamy, about 1 minute.
  4. While the mixer is running, slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk until just combined. Scrape down the sides, as needed.
  5. Add the melted butter and whisk on high speed until completely incorporated. When fully incorporated, the mixture should look very fluffy and almost like a well-aerated cake batter. This should take about a minute on high speed.
  6. Add the ripe banana and whisk on high speed until combined. Finally, add the chilis and chocolate chunks and stir to incorporate.
  7. Place the batter in the fridge overnight to bake in the morning. If you want to bake these right away, still place the batter in the fridge while the oven is pre-heating.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line a standard muffin tin with 6 muffin cups. Equally divide the batter into the 6 muffin cups. You want to aim to over-fill the cups. It's okay - they won't spill over too much! If desired, sprinkle the tops with chopped walnuts.
  9. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time. The muffins are done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
  10. As soon as the muffins come out of the oven, run a knife between the top of the tray and the base of the muffin top, to prevent them from sticking when you remove them from the pan. Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

 Enjoy these Double Chocolate Chili Muffins!

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One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken

Have you ever had an idea for something you want to eat, and it comes together exactly as you hoped it would? This Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken dish was that meal. Quite often, we start talking about our “weekend food” early in the week (like, Tuesday morning 😉 ). If we can, we try to cook something new on the weekends, because it can often take longer to make than a standard weeknight meal and we have more time.

I made a batch of my slider buns the previous weekend, so the plan was to do pair those with something. Our first thought was pulled pork (because we love it), but then I saw a few recipes float by online that used tantalizing words like Vietnamese and lemongrass and slow-cooked.

So my brain took those words and ran in a completely different direction and came up with: chicken breast, poached in a Thai broth, shredded and tossed in a spicy peanut sauce.

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ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | One-pot Thai peanut shredded chicken

Have you ever used the poaching method to cook anything other than eggs? We’ve poached fish before, but nothing else. I must say, this method was the main reason this meal came together so quickly, it’s fast and easy, and keeps the meat juicy and flavourful.

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As a bonus, I found this was so quick to make that it could easily be moved into the weeknight meal category… and it only uses one pot… and you get super tasty leftovers…

What’s not to love!

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We ate this Thai peanut shredded chicken piled high on the slider buns, topped with slices of fresh, juicy pineapple. It was a match made in Saturday-night food heaven.

I bet it would be equally fantastic in a taco or alongside a crunchy salad, or simply straight from the pan. This wild-card recipe is definitely going to be added to our weeknight rotation!

One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 500 g boneless skinless chicken breast, or 750 g bone-in chicken breast / thighs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2 to 4 Thai red chilis (depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (bottom ⅓ thinly sliced, middle ⅓ chopped into large pieces, upper ⅓ discarded)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 - 3 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lime, zest + juice
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil, or neutral oil
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, saute the garlic, ginger, lemongrass slices and red Thai chilis in peanut oil until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken broth, chicken pieces and lemongrass chunks. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and poach the chicken until the meat is cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred the meat with 2 forks.
  4. Skim off any fat from the chicken broth and return the pot (with broth) back to the stove top. Add the peanut butter and soy sauce and whisk to combine. Over medium-low heat, allow the mixture to reduce and thicken. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and zest and chopped cilantro.
  5. Add in the shredded chicken and stir to combine. Once the chicken is warmed through, it's ready to serve.

Enjoy this One-Pot Thai Peanut Shredded Chicken!

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Whole Wheat Za’atar Flatbread

As a gift from food-loving friends, we were given a 6-month subscription to the Raw Spice Bar. Every month we get three new spice blends in the mail, along with a variety of recipes to try them out with. Each month often focuses on a different ethnic region, and last month was filled with flavours of Navajo cuisine. We tried a few of the recipes (the posole was fantastic!) and the sumac za’atar spice blend had me super-excited. I baked a batch of whole-wheat za’atar flatbread and loved the flavour!

Sumac is a spice predominant in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. It has a wonderful, lemony flavour and brightens whatever dish it’s added to. Note to self: I really need to find my own source!

Za’atar is a mixture of spices, which starts with sumac and adds in sesame seeds and thyme. So, I just need to double my efforts in finding sumac, and the rest will fall into place 🙂

Flatbread is one of the easiest types of yeasted breads to make. You still have to play the waiting game, to give the dough time for an initial rise, but the baking time is quick compared to a standard loaf of bread (like sub 10 minutes). And because it’s a flat bread, you don’t have to worry about the bread not rising enough 🙂 Your house will smell amazing and your tummy will be filled with better-than-bought carbs.

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We ripped our za’atar flatbread into pieces and used it for dipping into a trio of spreads: homemade hummus, our weekly staple roasted beet dip, and a concoction of our red curry paste + yogurt + peanut butter. The flatbread also makes awesome, carby tacos and wraps.

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If you’ve never made bread before, but would like to ease into the world of yeasted baking, earmark this recipe for the weekend. Even without the za’atar spice-blend, a glug of olive oil and a sprinkle of your favourite spices (even just sea salt!) will ensure this flatbread tastes superb.

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Whole Wheat Za'atar Flatbread
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Flatbread is one of the easiest yeasted breads to make. In no time, your house will be filled with the wonderful aroma of freshly-baked bread.
Ingredients
  • 115 g (1/2 cup) warm water
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 4 g (1/2 pkg) instant yeast
  • 135 g (1 cup + 2 tbsp) bread flour
  • 45 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) whole wheat flour
  • 3 g (1 tsp) sea salt
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp za'atar spice blend (or make your own using a recipe like this)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water, sugar and yeast. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until it starts to foam and bubble. If this doesn't happen, the yeast may not be active anymore, and you will have to start with fresh yeast.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the bread flour, whole-wheat flour and salt. Add in the yeast mixture and knead briefly with the dough hook, until the dough just starts to come together. Let the dough rest 5 minutes, in order to allow the flour to hydrate fully.
  3. Using a dough hook (or by hand), knead for 6 to 7 minutes, until the dough turns into a soft, supple ball. Press a finger into the dough - the dough should stick to your finger for a moment, but then release. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour, 1 tbsp a a time, until it reaches this consistency. If the dough is too dry, add water (1 tbsp at a time), until you have the right consistency.
  4. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cotton dish towel. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 30 to 60 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and line an overturned baking tray with parchment paper.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Lightly dust a counter top with flour and use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough into a thin (3 to 5 mm) oblong shape. Place the rolled dough onto the parchment-lined tray. Spread ½ tsp of olive oil onto the top of each piece, and sprinkle with 2 tsp of za'atar spice blend. Allow the dough to rise while the oven is heating up.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms of the flatbread turn a golden brown.
  8. Serve with your favourite dips or spreads.
Notes
The flatbread are best served warm. They will keep in the freezer, wrapped in a freezer-proof bag, for up to a month.

Enjoy the whole wheat za’atar flatbread!

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