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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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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Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats

I know I’m late to this party, but until a month ago, I had never tried overnight oats. Oh, I heard people raving about them – how quick they are to prep the night before, how easy it is to switch up the flavours. But I was firmly planted in my green-smoothie-breakfast. That was, until the motor died on our Blendtec, and we were without its pulverizing force while waiting for a replacement to come in the mail. FYI, when this company says it offers an unlimited 7-year warranty, they really mean it!

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I need something in my tummy in the mornings, and we had a bag of Rogers Steel-cut Porridge Oats in our pantry that have been staring me down for quite some time. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and try this overnight-oat thing – and you know what? I’m officially on board!

This recipe is nourishing, full of fibre, and loaded with heart-healthy and antioxidant-promoting ingredients. It’s really a powerhouse of a breakfast and can easily be modified, depending on what’s in your cupboards. I’ve been eating this often during the week and it totally hits the spot. It should go without saying, but if you’re gluten-free, make sure you choose a certified gluten-free oat blend. If you’re vegan, use a non-dairy milk. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit 🙂

In case you haven’t heard me lamenting over the very wet, very grey autumn we’ve had on the west coast, I’ll say it again: this autumn feels gloomier than most. It’s a good thing that one day of blue sky (which we had the on Monday this week), can generally elevate my spirit for a few days 🙂

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Another way I get through these dreary months is by filling our fridge with tonnes of citrus fruit. How can a person feel glum, after biting into a ripe orange, or tasting the juicy crunch of a little pomegranate aril! I think that’s why this version of Pomegranate and Coconut overnight oats is hitting the spot for me at the moment. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll throw in some chopped walnuts, for a bit of extra crunch, too. And, with a good cup of coffee, it’s perfect.

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So if your breakfast is needing a change-up, or you’ve never tried this type of oatmeal before, give this Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats recipe a try. Hopefully it boosts your morning, like it does mine 🙂

Pomegranate and Coconut Overnight Oats
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
No cooking required, and five minutes of preparation the night before, will make sure you have a very tasty and filling breakfast in the morning.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup large-flake oats (I used the Roger's Steel Cut Oat Porridge blend)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate arils
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 1 tbsp walnut pieces, broken up into small pieces (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
Instructions
  1. In a 250 mL glass mason jar (with a lid), combine the oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon, pomegranate arils, large-flake coconut and walnuts (if using). Put the lid on, and shake the jar to combine the ingredients.
  2. Pour in ½ cup of milk of your choice, and 1 tsp of maple syrup. Stir the contents to combine completely.
  3. Place the lid onto the jar and keep in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  4. In the morning, enjoy cold or at room temperature.
Notes
This recipe is enough for 1 person. Modify the quantities to feed more hungry tummies.
If you like your oatmeal dense, use 1 to 2 tbsp less milk., If you like your oats with a lot of extra liquid, either add more the night before, or top with additional milk when serving.

Enjoy!

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One-Pot Chicken Burrito Farro Bowl

This past weekend, three separate storms blew through the Pacific Northwest. We had lots of rain and lots of wind and there were generally times when we wanted to do nothing but hole up in the apartment with a bowl of warm food and a good movie. So, in between the climbing and the van work, that’s exactly what we did! I love meals like this Chicken Burrito Farro Bowl. This one-pot meal is full of protein, nutrient-dense carbs and lots of veggies. It requires minimal prep time, and minimal hands-on time. And did I mention it only uses one pot? These are the meals that make me happy 🙂 When we need to fuel our bodies for a big climbing day, this is the type of food we love to eat.

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There are certain foods we like to buy every week, to make our lunch and dinner prep much easier. One of these is a roasted chicken from a local grocery store, which we split and keep in the fridge, using the leftovers as one of our meal-savers.

Need to bulk out your lunch? Add some roast chicken.

Want to make your dinner omelettes more interesting? Leftover chicken to the rescue!

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The inspiration for this meal came from this Chicken and Rice post; as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to try a simplified version. To make it quicker (hello, roast chicken!) without sacrificing flavour, and add a bit more nutritional heft (hello, nutty farro) without taking away the goal of using only one pot.

This recipe is one of those that can be whipped up on a weeknight when your time might be crunched. We diced up fresh heirloom tomatoes, but using canned tomatoes along with roasted leftover chicken means the prep for this meal is minimal. And while it may not look like much, it is unbelievably tasty!

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We’ve made it a few times now – the first, we added big dollops of guacamole to it, and nibbled it on the weekend, alongside some tortilla chips and a Netflix movie.

Highly recommended.

The second time, we were more civilized and ate at the table.

Equally tasty.

And the bonus of a one-pot meal like this is that, for a household of two, there is more than enough left over for lunch the next day! And believe me, you want to eat these leftovers.

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The idea is the same as a basic chicken-and-rice meal, where everything is simmered under enough liquid to cook the rice. Think of it like making risotto, but with less hassle in the stirring department. The spices and black beans take it into “Burrito Territory″ and, although we prefer the nutty bite of farro to standard rice, we have made it with brown rice and it still tastes great.

Again, like many of these one-pot meals, it’s easy to customize depending on your dietary preferences or what you have in your pantry! I bet tofu or chickpeas would make a great substitute for the chicken. Maybe try quinoa or cauliflower rice instead of the farro! So many variations, so few stormy weekends 😉

One-Pot Chicken Burrito Farro Bowl
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Inspired by the recipe from How Sweet It Is
Ingredients
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 medium red pepper, diced
  • 2 - 4 red thai chilis (depending on your spice tolerance, omit if necessary)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less, depending on your spice tolerance)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 700 g fresh tomatoes, diced (or 1 - 14 oz can)
  • 1 cup uncooked farro, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 250 g (~2 cups) roasted chicken, cut up into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat a small amount of oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion, garlic and red thai chilies and saute for a few minutes, until the onion starts to soften.
  2. Add the cumin, chipotle powder, cayenne powder, paprika, sea salt and tomato paste. Stir around until the onion mixture is completely coated, then add the red pepper and saute for a few minutes until the pepper starts to soften.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes (and juices), uncooked farro, black beans, roasted chicken and broth. Stir until everything is mixed together.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer until the farro is cooked, about 30 to 40 minutes. Stir every so often to prevent sticking to the bottom.
  5. Once the farro is cooked, add in the lime juice and zest and sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the chicken mixture. Stir to combine, and serve!
Notes
If you want to keep this vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead and replace the chicken with another protein, like chickpeas or tofu.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad

I had never eaten a fresh fig until a few years ago, when a friend asked if we wanted any from her neighbour’s tree. “Yes!”, was the obvious answer! Fresh figs are a wonderfully tasty fruit, especially when their skin starts to give way and a bit of their nectar seeps out. And when a fig is perfectly ripe (or over-ripe!), it has a sweetness that pairs perfectly with a little spice. Case in point is this Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad.

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The idea for this salad came about after a trip into Whole Foods, where they had strategically placed the best looking figs right at the entrance to the store. They were staring me down, and I was sucked in immediately. Good thing they are in season right now, because they were actually a reasonable price, so I couldn’t refuse!

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There are only a handful of ingredients in this salad – a few tangled carrots are tossed with a spicy vinaigrette and the wheat berries give a nice nutty chew and a bit more substance to the salad. I really think the spicy vinaigrette brings out the best of the sweet fresh figs!

Like most of our salads, the recipe here is a general guide. If you don’t like spicy foods, leave out the chilies. If you have other veggies in you fridge, feel free to use them up. We like adding grains like farro or wheat berries to our salads, as they hold up well in the fridge over a few days, and keep us feeling full well into the afternoon.

ClimbEatCycleRepeat.com | Spicy carrot and fig salad

So if you’ve never eaten a fresh fig before, make friends with a fig-laden neighbour, or grab a pint of them at the store while they are still in season, and make this salad! 🙂

Spicy Carrot and Fig Salad
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Inspired in part, by the Marrakesh Carrots in Sprouted Kitchen: Bowl and Spoon cookbook.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup dry wheat berries (or farro or other grain)
  • 3 - 4 medium to large carrots, peeled and grated or spiralized
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts finely chopped
  • 4 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 4 fresh figs, sliced
  • 2 red Thai chilies, chopped (remove the seeds, if you want a milder heat)
  • 1 good handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 good handful fresh basil, shredded
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 - 2 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Rinse the wheat berries under running water. Place in a medium sauce pan and pour enough water in to cover them by at least 5 cm. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Partially cover the pan and let simmer until tender to the bite, about 25 minutes. Drain and leave to cool before adding to the salad.
  2. While the wheat berries are cooking, prepare the rest of the salad. Place the carrots, shallot, green onions, dates, fresh figs and chilies into a large bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add the lime juice and zest, the olive oil and fresh cilantro and basil. Sprinkle in the cumin, turmeric and ground nutmeg. Toss well to thoroughly combine.
  4. Add the cooked wheat berries and toss to combine.
  5. Serve the salad with added sliced fresh figs on top, if desired.
Notes
This salad tastes very good after sitting for a bit. It will hold up well in the fridge for at least 2 days.

Enjoy!

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