Lately, I’ve been fixated with baking breads using whole wheat flour. I get immense satisfaction when it turns out well. And I know what goes into that loaf booming with nutrients of fresh ingredients from my pantry. The extra perk is, completely preservative free food for the family. I had a few blood oranges at home, out of which a couple was suffering from borderline anemia. It was mutation gone wrong. Hence, I treated those as the primary ingredient for my Orange Bread. The end product was a delicious homemade whole wheat loaf mildly sweetened with fresh OJ and fortified with toasted wheatgerm and flax meal sprinkle. It has a delicate citrus flavor with a moist crumb.
Makes one (8 x 4″) loaf
2 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour * Can substitute AP flour or Bread flour
1 cup Blood orange juice (room temperature)* Can be substituted with any orange. Try to avoid commercially prepared juice. Freshly sqeezed OJ works best
1/4 cup Tepid water
3 tablespoon Molasses (sulphur free) * Can be substituted with brown sugar/ treacle/ honey/ maple syrup
3 tablespoon Grape seed oil * Can use butter
1 Egg (room temperature)
1 tablespoon Orange zest (not rind) * Can add extra for more citrus flavour. It does not hurt the end product. Zest is the colored portion of the peel, not the white pith which is bitter and unpleasant
1 1/4 teaspoon Instant yeast * If you use active dry yeast, stir it into 2 tablespoons warm water (from the 1/4 cup water listed) with a pinch of sugar and let it stand for 10 mins before mixing with the dry ingredients. Check here for more information.
1 tablespoon Wheat germ
1 tablespoon Flax seed meal
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 Orange slices for decoration
- Combine whole wheat flour, wheatgerm, flax seed meal, yeast, orange zest and salt, mix well with a spatula. If you use active dry yeast (re-hydrated and activated with water), it has to be added while kneading the dough.
- In a small bowl beat the egg. Gradually add OJ and warm water to the flour mixture to form a dough. OJ has to be tepid, not right out the refrigerator.
- The dough will be loose and sticky. Whole wheat absorbs water on kneading. Now add the molasses, oil and egg to the dough and continue kneading.
- Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface till it’s elastic and soft. This takes about 10- 12 minutes. I used the kitchen counter top to do this as it is not restrictive. I didn’t have a stand mixer then. If you have a stand mixer, gladly use it for kneading which takes about 5-6 minutes.
- If it’s still sticky add in a teaspoon of flour to firm it up. Keep this as the last option. If the dough is stiff sprinkle some warm water ( about a tablespoon, the standby ingredient) and knead till you get a silky dough.
- Kneading develops gluten in the wheat which gives that soft texture and structure to the loaf. When combined with yeast the gluten forms carbon dioxide, that creates air pockets in the dough. Upon resting the yeast expands the dough.
- If enough gluten is not developed, you will have a flat and heavy bread despite adding yeast.
- Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl and let it rise, almost double in volume. I used my laundry room which is usually warm with less traffic. It was a cold and snowy day in Columbus. That didn’t help the proofing process. The dough did not rise as expected. I was disappointed. I gave a try by warming the oven at 170 degree F for 3 minutes. Placed the bowl with the dough inside the oven for a warm atmosphere.
- Now oil a loaf pan. Laying parchment paper along the sides and the bottom of the pan and then greasing makes removal easy. It’s not mandatory. Shape the dough into a loaf. Check out here to shape the loaf.
- Place the shaped dough in the pan filling the corners and cover it with a dish towel. Let it rise for about an hour in a draft free place.
- The dough increased in volume filling 2/3 of the loaf pan. My effort didn’t go down the drain. I had saved a couple of orange slices to decorate. I studded those slices on the top.
- Preheat the oven at 375 degree F.
- Place the loaf pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or till the top of the loaf has browned. I got a dark brown crust which I absolutely love. The browning is due to the molasses and egg added in the dough.
- Remove from the oven and let it stand for a minute. Loosen the sides with an offset spatula. Turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. The bread should sound hollow on tapping the bottom. The crust softens the next day.
There was my golden beauty ready for my next day’s breakfast. I baked this loaf in the evening and used it for french toast the next morning. It was not overwhelmingly citrusy, but had a full and pleasing flavor. We loved it :)
This is the picture of the oranges that was treated with TLC in my kitchen to produce that lovely bread loaf.