Saturday, September 12, 2015

Bonus recipe: Granola Bread

I haven't actually posted the official Recipe of the Month for September yet, but I wanted to share Brian's latest creation, Granola Bread, while it was still fresh. The recipe, I mean, not the bread...although we have some of that fresh too, because Brian baked two more loaves of it today after we gobbled up the first one. So that tells you right there that this recipe was a definite hit.

Brian has gotten into the habit of baking bread on the weekends, and with our last loaf of whole-wheat bread about to run out, he asked me what kind I'd like next. I waffled a bit, because I felt as if I really ought to request a whole-grain bread in light of the studies showing a high-fiber diet is a real magic bullet for weight loss, heart health, and pretty much everything else...but what I really felt more in the mood for was challah, a golden egg bread made with white flour that's not a bit healthy, but delicious. So when I explained my dilemma to Brian, he decided to get creative and invent a bread recipe that would be loaded with both fiber and flavor. He had recently baked a batch of granola for himself (using the recipe I posted back in February) and he toyed with the idea of putting some of this high-fiber cereal into a bread, but instead he decided to take the ingredients from the granola and incorporate them into the bread dough. Here's what he ended up with:
3/4 c. warm water
1 1/2 tsp. yeast
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. wheat bran
1 Tbsp. wheat gluten
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. finely chopped walnuts 
Dissolve yeast in water, then mix in the next eight ingredients to make a dough. Knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour if it's too sticky and more water if it's too dry. Toward the end of the kneading process, add: 
1/2 c. raisins 
Cover the bowl of dough and let it rise in a dark, warm, moist place for about an hour. (Brian puts ours in the oven, switched off, with a pan of water.) Take out the dough and transfer it to a pair of loaf pans. (Brian uses regular glass pans, oiling and flouring them first so the bread doesn't stick, but you may not need to do this if your pans are nonstick.) Put the pans back in the oven and let the bread rise for another hour or so, then bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
Now, according to the SparkPeople recipe calculator, this bread is not actually all that high in fiber. It's got maybe 1.4 grams per slice, and a slice of whole wheat bread has 2.8 (though it has more calories, as well). But oh, it is just soooo much yummier. It's sweet and chewy and hearty, and it makes great toast. Probably not the ideal bread for most kinds of sandwiches, but hey, who needs toppings when this stuff is so good plain?

A final note: Although we now bake our bread the old-fashioned way, having decided not to replace our bread machine when it croaked in 2013, I see no reason you couldn't bake this bread in a machine if you have one.  Just make sure to use the "add in" setting, or whatever your machine calls it, so it will beep to let you know when it's time to add the raisins.
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