Have you tried making my Whole Grain Artisan Bread recipe yet? It is so fun! So fast! And so healthy!
Come with me and have a little fun experimenting with some sweetbread! This rich dough is called “Brioche” in France. The recipe is basically the same dough as the artisan bread in my last blog, only enhanced with butter, sweetening and eggs creating a rich taste—a tender crumb inside, and a bronze, flaky crust outside. I always wondered how they made those yummy frosted apple breads and other coffee-cake type breads that you can buy in the bakery. This is it! Delicious!
Let’s go step-by-step:
How to Make Super Easy No-Knead Sweet Bread
#1 Get out a big plastic bowl with a lid, the kind you make potato salad in. It can be a glass bowl with a pan lid, if need be, but not a metal bowl.
#2 Put into the bowl:
- 7 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, hard white wheat freshly ground if possible.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 lightly beaten eggs
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 to 3 sticks of softened butter (1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cup) 1 stick worked fine for me. More fat = richer bread. Brioche traditionally uses 3 sticks. (I’ve used coconut oil, also.)
- 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- optional: 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
- optional: 3 cups raisins or other dried fruit
- optional: 2 1/4 cups cups chopped walnuts or pecans
- egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 T. water)
Stir to moisten ingredients and put the lid loosely on top of the bowl. Leave it on the counter for at least 2 hours. It will rise and then fall or flatten out. After this initial rise, you can form the dough into loaves, or put the loosely lidded bowl into the fridge and bake within 5 days.
If you want a plain sweetbread, leave out the optional ingredients. To make my Cinnamon Raisin Walnut bread (picture below), add the cinnamon, nuts and raisins. On the loaf below, I patted it out, and then made a layer of cinnamon, nuts and raisins, butter and sweeteners, and then rolled it up. But I prefer it all mixed up in the dough—tastier, less work!
That’s it! No, you don’t knead it!
#3 To form loaves, just flour your hands and reach in to the bowl and scoop out 1/3 of the dough. Quickly and gently shape it into a loaf—or just plop it down into a well-greased loaf pan—that actually works just as well, as the dough is quite wet. Use narrow loaf pans which allow for better rising when using whole grain flour. Metal is my preference, since glass pans create a thicker crust, and you want this to be light. If any dried fruit protrudes out of the dough, poke it down in with your finger so to doesn’t bake to blackness from exposure. Nuts get a tasty toasting if exposed but fruit burns.
#4 Let the dough rise for 40 minutes (one hour and 40 minutes for refrigerated dough). Brush egg wash on the top of the loaves. Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees in a preheated oven. Makes 3 loaves.
That’s all there is to it!
To make the Cinnamon Twists that my daughter Louisa is eating in the picture above, make 1/2 the recipe of plain dough. After a two hour rise/fall period, roll or pat dough to 1/2″ thickness on a lightly floured surface and brush with egg wash mixture. Sprinkle heavily to coat with cinnamon and sugar (I used sugar-free sweeteners, a mixture of stevia and xylitol).
Carefully flip this upside down onto a greased cookie sheet or a piece of parchment paper and repeat with the egg wash and coating of cinnamon/sweetener. Now you have cinnamon/sweet on both sides of the dough. Use a pizza cutter to cut into 3/4″ wide strips. Lift one end of the strip twisting it and laying it back down twisted.
Let rise for 15 minutes, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until just baked through (not crusty). Divine dipped into no sugar hot chocolate or milk!
P.S. If you want more great recipes, Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day has lots of helpful tips and 100 wonderful recipes for every imaginable variation: breads with raisins, cinnamon, dried fruit, veggies, herbs, whole grains, pizzas, ethnic breads, gluten-free breads, whole wheat hamburger buns, pizza, corn bread and much more. A fabulous book that raises no-knead baking to new heights! I modify slightly by using whole grain flour exclusively (no white flour), and the recipes in this book turn out wonderfully well anyway.
If you need to buy bulk whole grains, I have them too.
Hard white wheat makes a high protein, light whole grain bread! My favorite!
Hard red wheat grinds to an excellent bread flour that has that nutty whole wheat taste and a darker crust.
An excellent sweetener for baking: Xylitol.
If you need a grain mill, this one can’t be beat! I’ve tried every mill on the market, and like this one the very best.
If you prefer a hand mill, I recommend the Wonder Junior Hand Grain Mill.