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Sunday
Feb092014

Whole Grain Batter Bread

It’s been a momentous few weeks here at Corporate World Headquarters for the Circle B Kitchen.  Recipes have been tested, tweaked and re-tested; some have been found worthy, others not so much.  Last week’s post on the invention of homemade Velveeta was nothing short of ground-breaking, and this week I’ve come up with a bread recipe that's kind've mind blowing. 

And this just happens to be a batter bread.  If you're as unfamiliar as I was, batter breads are yeast breads that require no kneading, very little time and effort, but produce a stellar loaf of bread. Batter bread recipes have been around for like ever, but the fact that I’ve only recently discovered them makes them new and innovative and exciting.  It’s my kitchen, so I get to say, yes, even revolutionary.  

I’m fairly certain that the fact that I love making bread – the proofing, the kneading, the rising, the whole hours-long process, has perhaps caused me to look with skepticism at bread recipes that require so little labor. I mean, how can you possibly turn out a decent loaf of bread without putting in the work?  Well, I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible, it’s actually advisable.  Whoa.  Never thought I’d hear that one from yours truly. 

But given just the right combination of ingredients, batter breads can produce amazing results in just about an hour’s time.  And when I say amazing results, I’m not even kidding.  The first loaf I made totally impressed me with its moist, chewy texture, but I felt like the flavor was a bit lacking and I wanted the shape to be more like a bakery loaf of bread than a quick bread. So I went to work adjusting the salt and flavorings, tweaking the liquid ingredients and dry ingredients to create the size loaf I was looking for and boy howdy, if it didn’t turn out pretty great.  Awesome, actually. 

So basically all you do is mix your yeast with the dry ingredients and then add the warmed liquid ingredients and let your mixer do all the work.  It only takes about 3 minutes (a stand mixer with the paddle attachment works best for this) to create your batter.  I used a hand mixer for one of my test recipes, and while it worked, it wasn’t quite as efficient or easy as the stand mixer; but use it if that’s what you’ve got.  Then just pour your batter into your loaf pan, let it rise for about 30 minutes and bake. 

One of the main differences between batter breads and standard bread recipes is that batter breads rise quickly before they’re baked and very little rising occurs in the oven.  Of course the other noticeable difference, besides how easy they are to make, is the texture, which is so light, moist and chewy and just kinda fun.  So if you're one of those "I can't do yeast; I can't make bread" people, this here's the one for you!  And if you love making bread as much as I do, grab your mixer... you're only an hour away from a very awesome slice of bread.  Here’s my recipe…

Whole Grain Batter Bread

Click here for a printable recipe

Batter breads are a special class of yeast breads that are higher in moisture than traditional breads and require no kneading beyond what your mixer accomplishes for you.  They're super easy to make, and the resultant bread has a wonderfully moist, sort of chewy texture with a light, crisp crust.  As you can well imagine, it makes fabulous toast, but is awesome no matter what the application.  I hope you will think of my recipe as a template to create your own version with add-ins that suite your own tastes.  If you would like to use more whole wheat flour, I would suggest using a white whole wheat (King Arthur Flour), but if you would like to use all whole wheat, you will probably need to increase the liquids accordingly.  You could also use all white flour if you'd like, but conversely, you may need to reduce the liquid ingredients.  Happy baking!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 ¼ cups milk
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup quick oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds, wheat berries, sunflower seeds or flax seeds 

Grease bottoms and sides of an 8 ½ by 4 ½-inch or 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan with shortening or cooking spray. (If you only have larger loaf pans, I would recommend doubling the recipe and cooking for 35-40 minutes.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the all-purpose flour, sugar, salt and yeast using the paddle attachment. 

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and water over medium heat until about 120 to 130 degrees.  Add this mixture to the flour mixture and beat  on low speed until moistened.  Then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. 

Stir in the whole wheat flour, wheat germ, oats and seeds.  Combine thoroughly. The batter will be quite loose.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 30 minutes.  If your batter comes close to filling your loaf pan, spray your plastic wrap with cooking spray before covering the pan.  If not, it will stick to the dough as it rises in the pan.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.  The top of the loaf should be golden brown and quite crisp. 

Remove the loaf from the pan to a cooling rack.  Serve warm or room temperature. 

Store in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.  Best reheated in a low oven or toaster oven.

Click here to ask a question or leave a comment

Reader Comments (30)

This bread looks too good to be that easy! I can't wait to try it!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHeather Manning

I'm one of those yeast-o-phobic people you referred to. My bread-making history is littered with way too many failures, but this actually sounds like a recipe I could handle. LOL!! Might just have to try it out!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

My Mom used to make our sandwich bread from a recipe similar to this. We loved it and I can't wait to try this and see if it's like hers. Thank you so much for sharing this!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine P.

You're so welcome, Katherine! I hope this bread brings back some memories for you.

February 9, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

You might be surprised to hear that my grandmother made bread every week and her recipe was sort of like this. She called it lazy bread, and we kids loved it. I don't remember the exact ingredients, but it was a very loose batter like this and it went from mixing bowl to oven in no time. I'll be trying your recipe soon!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFrancine

I'd love to try this, but I only have instant (bread machine) yeast. Can I use that or should I wait to get some active dry yeast?

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaney F.

A couple of the recipes that I researched used both active dry or instant yeast, so I think you could definitely use it, Laney. Usually you don't use warm water to activate instant yeast, but in this case, it seems to work. Let us know how it comes out, OK?

February 9, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I'm very excited about making a loaf of bread in an hour. I work full time and my kids keep me busy all weekend with sports and friends, so this could be a way to sneak in a healthy loaf of homemade bread, something I've been wanting to do for a long time.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

Looks fabulous!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeeza

I'm so making this. Healthy, easy and quick is my cooking mantra!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKelly Bingham

Bread in an hour? Can't wait to try it out!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I just discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago on Pinterest and am so excited to try all of your recipes. But I think I'm going to have to start with this one. I've never made homemade bread, but this seems so easy!

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGina

Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I like to think I might be able to create a good loaf of bread in an hour. I'll be giving this a try.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLydia

You're very welcome, Lydia.

February 9, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I always buy salted sunflower seeds - will those be OK or do they need to be unsalted (if there is such a thing?)

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAudrey

It looks really good, I will give it a try. My Question is. Can I , instead of turning the mix into a bread pan make bread rolls by forming smaller round mix and placing them onto a tray and baking them for the same time ?

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Harris

Because this is a very loose batter, Peter, I don't think you could form it into rolls that would hold their shape. If you wanted to make rolls, you could try decreasing the liquid to make a firmer batter, but then you would lose the moist texture that makes this bread so good. But you could play around with it a little and see what you can figure out. Let us know how that works, OK?

February 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Yes, you can buy unsalted sunflower seeds, Audrey. But if you only have the salted kind, you could try decreasing the salt in the recipe to 1/2 teaspoon and using the salted ones. It might be possible to rub some of the salt off of the seeds with a towel. Hope that helps! Nice to hear from you!

February 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

This looks absolutely divine, and I can't wait to try your recipe and smell this gorgeous bread baking in my oven! I love to bake bread for my family, and rarely buy dinner rolls from the store unless I forget to plan ahead. I have two questions. Can this recipe be made in a bread machine, using either the complete mix and bake cycle or perhaps just mix and first rise, then bake in the oven? Also, is there a substitute you can recommend for the wheat germ? Some members of my family turn their noses up at healthy stuff visible in their bread ;-) Thanks for working through and sharing such a lovely, quick way to bring fresh yeast bread to the family table.

February 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVickie

I don't recommend using a bread machine for batter breads, Vickie, because they bake at a much higher temperature than standard breads. And as easy as this is to just mix and bake, you shouldn't miss the bread machine at all. :) Secondly, the cool thing about the wheat germ is that it sort of dissolves into the bread. There's no trace of it in the finished loaf so it's maybe a cool way to sneak some goodness into their bread without anyone noticing. I would leave out the seeds though; they're definitely visible. You can also leave out the whole wheat flour if you want, but like the wheat germ, it really just blends into the bread and you don't even notice it's there. But it does help give the bread a wonderful texture. I might recommend that you try the bread first with the wheat germ and whole wheat flour and make some adjustments on the next batch if needed. Happy baking!

February 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I just wanted to get back to you and let you know how much we enjoyed this bread! I didn't have the seeds to add to it, but the bread itself was fabulous! I just pulled the second loaf out of the oven and it's as beautiful as the first one. Turns out i'ts very much like the bread Mom used to make. Thank you so much for this beautiful recipe!

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine P.

You're welcome, Katherine! I'm so glad you liked it and that it's so much like your Mom's. Great to hear from you!

February 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

You just made a bread maker outta me! I feel such success with this quick and easy recipe. Thank you so much for all the work you do to help make cooking and baking so easy for peeps like me.

February 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCousin Katie

Thanks so much, Katie. Very sweet words and much appreciated. I'm so glad you liked the bread!

February 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I've made this bread twice and both times it's come out so wonderful! I've never been a bread baker, but I'm so excited about having fresh, homemade bread in the house that I may branch out and try a few more bread recipes. Thank you so much for this easy recipe!

February 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGina

I'm so glad you like it, Gina! I do hope you feel inspired to keep making bread. Sometimes all you need is one little success. So great to hear from you!

February 24, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made this last week and it was great! Didn't have wheat germ so I just added more oats instead. It was a little crumbly when I tried to slice it thinly so I ended up making larger slices for open faced sandwiches. I'll try it with the wheat germ next time to see if that helps!

I really can't believe how easy that was to make! So nice not having to roll bread or flour dust counter tops!

March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I love how easy it is too, Anna. The wheat germ seems to be a sort of crucial component to getting the texture right, so I hope you give it another try!

March 3, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I finally got around to trying this again wih the wheat germ! It is fantastic and holds together much better. I love how chewy it is too.

My only problem is that the top keeps collapsing down instead of puffing up in the oven. Ideas? Should I try using more yeast? The first time I made it in slightly too small a loaf pan and the Saran Wrap stuck a bit to the top. This time I made it in too large a loaf pan (10x4.5). Could the shape of the pan cause that?

April 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

I don't think using a larger loaf pan would cause it to sink like that, Anna, but I prefer to use the smaller loaf pan and take the plastic wrap off before the batter reaches the top so it doesn't stick. There are two things you can try to remedy the sinkage. One is to cook the bread just a little longer, especially if it doesn't seem to be as thoroughly cooked in the middle where it sinks.. The second is to reduce the liquids just a bit, but only do this as a last resort. The bread doesn't really get puffy, but make sure you're using active dry yeast and not instant yeast and that your yeast is fresh. 2 1/4 teaspoons (one packet) should be plenty of yeast for this recipe. One other thing might be that your oven runs a little cooler, so either raising the oven temp a little or cooking it a little longer might help. Hope this helps! Keeps us posted!

April 24, 2014 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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