Introduction: Good Healthy Every-day Bread

Making bread is easy. Only three ingredients are necessary – flour,
water and yeast - so if you can cook scramble eggs you can make bread.

This is my regular every-day bread. Nothing fancy though I add ground flax and sunflower seeds to make it more tasty. The method includes an overnight fermentation that increases the complexity of the flavors and develops the gluten all by itself, saving all that kneading.

I use this bread making method for all my bread and though similar to other methods, I like to call it “almost no-knead”. You can see my other Instructable that is on Spicy English Tea Bread here:

I use 50/50 white flour/whole wheat as 100% whole wheat flour makes a loaf that is too heavy for my preference.

Step 1: Ingredients:

Makes 2 large loaves.

3 cups all purpose flour

3 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons instant dried yeast

3 cups warm water

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup raw sunflower seeds


1. For the benefit of anyone not familiar with North American cups, 1 cup is 250ml, 1 tablespoon is 15ml and 1 teaspoon is 5ml.

2. You will probably need up to ½ cup of extra flour to get a good dough.

3. You will notice there is no sugar of any kind partly because we have too much sugar in our diets already but mostly because it is totally unnecessary. When the flour is wet, an enzyme called diastase that is naturally present in flour, converts the starch to sugar that the yeast can use.

4. You will notice too that there is no oil or fat of any kind. As I often say, we don’t need fat IN our bread as well as butter ON our bread.

Step 2: Method:

(this is what I do for all my bread)

1. Before going to bed get a BIG bowl and add:

3 cups white flour

2 tsp yeast

3 cups warm water (body temperature)

and stir to a thin batter, called a poolish. Cover well and put in a warm place overnight.

A friend once put the batter up on top of the kitchen cupboards overnight but he didn’t use a big enough bowl. In the morning there was batter dripping down the cupboards and spreading out all over the counter! What a mess to clean up! So a big bowl.

2. Also before going to bed, in a second bowl pre-mix:

3 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt

½ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

Step 3: Next Morning:

Next morning you will find the gluten has developed all by itself and you will have a lump of gooey gluten sitting in a very watery fluid.

Now add the contents of the second bowl and stir until you can’t stir any more. Then get your hands in it to make an even ball of dough. You will probably need about ½ cup more flour depending on humidity etc. You may work it on the kitchen counter, or not as you choose, and then put the dough ball back in the bowl, covered, in its warm place for about 30 minutes. The gluten will develop during this time without, needless to say, the need to knead.

It’s a good idea to butter your bread tins at this time.

Step 4: Shaping the Loaves:

Shaping the loaves. During the 30 minutes in your warm place the
gluten develops nicely. Tip & scrape the dough onto your work surface and knead it a few times. Stretch and fold, turn, stretch and fold again. Then divide the dough into 2 pieces. This recipe will make 4½ pounds of dough, so for 2 large tins use 2¼ lbs (1 kg) for each tin. Stretch and fold each piece of the dough to make a sausage shape that will go into your tins.

Switch on your oven and set it for 450 degrees F (230 deg C).

Allow the dough to rise in your warm place for about 60 minutes or until well risen.

Step 5: Baking the Loaves:

When well risen, bake at 450 degrees F (230 C) for 15 minutes and then turn the oven down to 375 F (190 C) for a further 30 minutes.

This high temperature and then cooling down over time simulates the traditional way of baking in a wood fired oven. And it makes a nice crisp crust.

Step 6: Last Words:

If you have got this far (and I hope you have) you may be interested in a few comments about ageing, staling and storage.

We all know that bread goes stale and dry over time. If you store your bread in a plastic bag it doesn’t really go dry but it certainly seems like it. The reason is that the gluten that we take so much trouble to make elastic goes hard over time so it loses its flexibility and hence its chewiness. It seems dry and stale.

We also all know that when we lightly toast dry bread a lot of its chewiness is restored. That is because the heat from the toaster restores some of the flexibility to the gluten. As this indicates the warmer the temperature the slower the hardening of the gluten, or to put it the other way around, the cooler you go, the faster the hardening. Room temperature is the best temperature for short-term storage. The WORST temperature is around 40 degrees F (5 deg C), which by coincidence, is the temperature of most refrigerators.

For long-term storage freezing is best and it is a lot easier if the bread is pre-sliced before being frozen - though to be honest I rarely do so myself.

Bread Challenge 2017

Participated in the
Bread Challenge 2017