I love my carbs – I just don’t love them processed!
It was after I really got into running (and peanut butter sandwiches) that noticed I could not pronounce half the ingredients on the store bought loaf’s label. I wanted to get back to my Kansas roots, literally, and make my own bread just as my grandparents still do each week. Growing up in America’s Breadbasket (Kansas ranks #1 in the U.S. in wheat production and flour milling) I lived for homemade dinner rolls and fresh bread for my sandwiches. I like to say I was raised among rising bread.
A few months ago I was visiting my boyfriend’s family in Tulsa. His dad, Alan, an exception cook might I add, was making his famous poached eggs served with avocado on toast for breakfast. YUM! But it wasn’t just any toast, they had picked up a loaf of Food for Life’s Ezekiel 4:9 Bread from Whole Foods. Using sprouted whole grains, this bread is bursting with nutrients, high in protein and offers 18 amino acids. It’s the kind of bread any health nut would go nuts over.
I wanted to recreate it. The only thing I had to go off of was the ingredients label on the packaging, so I called up Grandpa. I may be bias of his brilliant baking skills, but Grandpa took home the blue ribbon at the Kansas Festival of Breads for the Traditional Pan Bread category. This guy knows his dough.
Together we went through the ingredient list, adding and subtracting items and applying measurement sizes. After a lesson in chemistry, Grandpa insisted Wheat Gluten made the cut since it improves the elasticity and rise of the raw dough. When you are making dense bread like this the vital wheat gluten is essential!
One minor detail – I had wheat berries and dried beans, lentils, and millet on the list and I did not have a flour mill (and as much as I love fresh bread I was not about to invest in one). A quick trip to Target and I had myself a new coffee grinder to do the work. Improvising at its finest! I highly recommend the KitchenAid 4 oz Coffee Grinder. You can always sub out the wheat berries for whole wheat flour… but you’ll need to take a meat tenderizer mallet to the dried beans and lentils if you don’t have a grinder. I wasn’t up for that kind of a workout… Plus, fresh ground coffee is always better anyway.
After minor tweaks here and there and six loafs later I am ready to spill the beans on my perfected “Ezeliek” Bean Bread recipe.
- 1 1/4 cups wheat berries
- 3/4 cups spelt flour
- 1/4 cup barley
- 1/4 cup millet
- 3 tablespoons cup dry green lentils
- 1 tablespoon dry great Northern beans
- 1 tablespoon dry kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon dried pinto beans
- 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon wheat gluten (Grandpa’s recommendation)
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- Grind all the grains and beans in a coffee grinder and stirred together until well mixed. Add salt to the dry mixture.
- Measure the water, honey, olive oil and yeast together in a liquid measuring cup (let sit 5 minutes to allow yeast to bloom)
- Add yeast mixture to fresh flour and stir until well mixed. It will be a very battery (liquid) bread dough.
- Pour dough into 1 greased 9x5 inch loaf pans. Sprinkle top with rolled oats.
- Let dough rise for about 1 hour. The dough reached the top of the pan before I transferred to the oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown.
- Let cool for 30 minutes before cutting as the bread can be crumbly.
- It would work well to mix in dried cranberries or walnuts. The hearty flavor goes well with peanut butter or avocado on top.