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.

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