Many nutritionists now believe that a whole wheat parantha (layered flat bread, plain or stuffed and not baked in an oven but fried on a griddle) is packed with more health than bread....white bread. For many years now, as a rule, we do not buy 'White Bread'. Yes the good old no fuss no frills basic sandwich bread is a virtual persona non grata......even though nothing beats a white bread sandwich when the bread is absolutely fresh !!
Ever since the so called superior whole wheat and multi grain breads swamped the market, their not-so-healthy cousin is used only for bread crumbs or some very specific dishes (which require white bread only).
While I've baked whole wheat bread wherein the whole wheat is only added in a certain proportion to the regular all purpose flour, over the weekend I was in one of those 'oh I must only cook healthy food for my family' moods and experimented with whole, whole-wheat flour and the added goodness of Oat Bran. I discovered bran about a year back and use it very frequently to make flat breads called Chapatis. Bran is a wonder ingredient, it boosts the body's metabolism, gives a twist to the good ol' chapati, is very helpful if you are trying to lose weight (I'm always trying....I always need to. Succeeding is another story though !!) and Oat bran especially is very helpful in reducing cholesterol.
This bread is a lot heavier than than other breads but that is what is intended, so don't worry. The heavier the bread the the faster it fills you and is more satiating. However if it gets a little too heavy for your liking, you could always reduce the whole wheat flour by 3/4 cup and instead add all purpose flour.
While I was baking this bread, I also went through the ingredient composition of the leading bread brands available, and to my surprise, the multi grains, whole wheat flour, bran etc (all together) is only 5% of the total weight of the flour so obviously the 'wholesome' breads that we buy from the market are so soft and so porous. Though I wonder how healthy they are?
This bread works brilliantly when toasted and is perfect for a wholesome sandwich.
Whole Wheat Oat Bran Bread - Recipe
3 cups Whole Wheat Flour (atta)
3/4 cup Oat Bran
2 tbsp Honey
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Dry Active Yeast
1 tbsp Vital Gluten
1 cup warm water
2 tsp Salt
1. Proof the yeast in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and 1 tsp of sugar.
2. Mix the whole wheat flour, oat bran, gluten and salt.
3. Add olive oil and honey and rub it well into the flour with your finger tips.
4. Add the yeast and start kneading the dough. (I always knead my bread dough with hands), however if you are using the stand mixer, use the paddle hook.
5. Continue kneading the dough till you finish the entire cup of warm water. This could take upto 10-12 minutes. Slam the dough on the counter top a couple of times to make it soft. It is very important to keep kneading this dough till it starts becoming stretchy. Whole wheat flour dough always take much longer to become stretchy since it has lower levels of gluten.
6. Place the dough in a well greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 2 hours.
7. After 2 hours, when it has doubled in volume, knock back the dough lightly, knead again and place it in the loaf tin and give it an egg / milk-n-sugar wash.
8.Bake for 30-35 minutes at 180 C.
Best served toasted or like a grilled sandwich.