Tag Archives: Flax Seed

Whole Wheat Bread of Millet & Flax Seed

There’s something unequivocally comforting about spending your entire day tending to the well-being of a couple of loaves of bread. I love the initial excitement of seeing that your yeasted batter has, indeed, risen as it should. I love punching the dough down after it’s risen a few times over. I love kneading the dough until my arms ache and my fingers are so entwined in the dough that it takes a good few minutes to untangle myself. Most of all, I love the smell of baking bread creeping throughout the apartment as the cowboy plays his guitar. The ultimate reward that comes from this fragrant loaf is sitting down to a hearty chunk of it slathered with strawberry-raspberry preserves from my favorite Chicago grocer – The Green Grocer. On bread-baking days I feel a sense of accomplishment that only comes from honest, wholesome productivity.

In between waiting for the dough to rise and then rise again (like a Phoenix!), we spent the good chunk of Saturday gathering our food for the week. A trip to the wondrous Chicago French Market made both of our days. Of particular enjoyment was chatting with the local butcher, Dick McCracken of Fumare Meats, from whom we bought some delicious prosciutto from for Saveur’s “Piselli Al Prosciutto” (Sweet Peas and Prosciutto) from their latest issue – “Classic Roman Food.” The most fascinating piece of take-away knowledge from this indelible resource – did you know that the changing colors of the leaves in the fall in the United States is a result of the acidity of our soil? Sure is pretty… Or that everything from lettuce to turnips tastes ever-so-slightly different from country to country as a result of this? Or that the only place to get a chicken that actually tastes like chicken used to (read The Omnivore’s Dilemna, anyone?) is a place down on Fulton Market that steadfastly refuses to sell to the public?

This bread is SO GOOD… and so good for you! The millet is the star here as it contributes a surprisingly sweet flavor and pleasantly crunchy texture… but lets not forget the flax seed and its nutty aroma! The combination of white, whole wheat, and white whole wheat flours makes for a miraculously light, tender loaf. Can we call this “super bread?!”

Whole Wheat Bread of Millet & Flax Seed

1 3/4 cups millet
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 cup hot water from your tap, for soaking millet
3 packages dry active yeast
2 cups warm water, for dissolving yeast
2 tablespoons raw honey (from your farmer’s market!)
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 to 5 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
oil, for coating a bowl and baking tins
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk (whichever kind suits you)

1.) Begin by soaking your millet in the cup of hot water. Set aside, and dissolve yeast in a large bowl with the warm water. Add honey, white flour, and whole wheat flour. Stir with a spatula until smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size; 40-50 minutes. I’ve found that the interior of my oven with the light on is a reliable source of warmth.

2.) Stir in the oil, salt, millet (and any remaining water), and flaxseed until everything is evenly dispersed. Then, gently stir in the white whole wheat flour gradually (about 1/2-1/3 cup at a time) with your spatula until the dough won’t take anymore flour.

3.) Turn dough out onto a well-floured flat surface, coat your hands in a bit of flour to help prevent “concrete hands,” and knead dough for 5-10 minutes; until smooth and supple.

4.) Oil a large, clean bowl, place dough in bowl, and turn over a few times to coat with oil. Cover tightly, place in a warm place, and let rise until doubled in size; 40-55 minutes. Punch that dough down with your fists, cover, place in a warm place, and let rise until doubled in size; 30-40 minutes.

5.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two standard-size baking tins. Break apart the dough in the bowl into two loaves. Place in tins, put in a warm place (without a cover this time), and let rise one last time until doubled in size; 20-25 minutes. While the dough is rising, make a glaze by beating the egg and the milk together. When dough is doubled in size, slash the top a bit with a knife, brush with glaze, and bake until beautifully golden and crisp on the outside; 50-60 minutes.

Pick-Me-Up Wheat Berry & Flax Seed Breakfast Bowl

I like to start my day with a nourishing bowl of pure, whole foods. Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels – wheat in its purest form. If you’re feeling especially industrious, you can even make your own whole wheat flour by grinding the berries! Wheat berries have a toothsome, nutty flavor and a satisfying chewy bite. They’re incredibly fibrous, low in calories (a cup has only about 300 calories), and full of protein and iron.

Wheat berries are also soft on the wallet because they have not been modified or processed in any way by the manufacturer (for which you will always pay, both in health and in cash). You can find them at Whole Foods in the bulk bins for less than $2 a pound.

As for flaxseed, we’ve all heard what a miracle these little seeds are. Often called “one of the most powerful foods on the planet,” flax seeds are full of fiber (4 grams from only 2 tablespoons!), lignan antioxidants, and alpha-linolenic acid omega-3′s. Lignans have been credited with helping to stop harmful cell growth. Many plants contain lignan, but flaxseed contains 75 times more than any other source we currently know of. To illustrate how incredible this little seed is, the package for Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed states that you’d need to eat 30 cups of fresh broccoli.

Not to mention, walnuts are well-known for their high fiber content, B vitamins, magnesium, omega-3′s, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Blueberries are also high in fiber, antioxidants such as anthocyanin, vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, selenium, zinc, iron, and are well-known for their ability to destroy free radicals and promote eye, brain, and digestive tract health. Take that, cocoa puffs!

Wheat Berry & Flax Seed Breakfast Bowl

1/2 cup cooked wheat berries*
2 tablespoons flaxseed
a healthy handful of blueberries
a handful of deeply toasted walnuts*
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
a dollop of yogurt, for garnish (optional)

1.) Combine wheat berries, nectar, and blueberries over medium heat in a small skillet. Saute until heated through and use your wooden spoon to break apart the blueberries a bit.

2.) Sprinkle with walnuts and flaxseed. Scoop into a bowl, and serve with a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

*To cook wheat berries – Rinse 1 cup of wheat berries under cool running water, then combine in a saucepan with 3 cups of cold water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour; until they give willingly when you bite into them.

*To toast walnuts – Place in oven on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 5 minutes; until browned and fragrant.