Walnut Molasses Whole Wheat Bread

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Friends, I am EXCITED.
There was a new development in the Sweet + Natural kitchen last weekend that makes me so happy!  I’m pleased, I’m proud, I’m itching to get back in there and do it again.
What on earth could bring such delight to my baking life?
I made my first loaf of homemade bread!
Wheeeee! Yep, we’re talking yeast, we’re talking kneading, we’re talking rising.  And whole grains of course.  I got in there with my electric hand mixer’s special hook and went at the dough until it was shiny and smooth.  I waited patiently for hours until it doubled in size.  I shaped the loaf.  And I relished in the wheaty goodness that emerged from my oven.  I am now legit, no?
This was such a fun accomplishment for me.  Bread from scratch has been on my list-of-things-to-bake forever, but I’ve always made excuses to avoid making anything with yeast.  It takes so long!  What if something messed it up?  Would my hours of effort be fruitless? I guess I just never had the patience – or extra time! – to devote a chunk of my day to an attempt.  Well, I found myself with that extra time one afternoon and figured it was as good a chance as any to give it a go.
With this recipe and my King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book (courtesy of Dan’s sister – thanks Kate!) by my side, I was ready to go.
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Here’s the recipe I followed to make Walnut Molasses Whole Wheat Bread:
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 tablespoons molasses
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until moistened and combined. Cover dough, let rest for 20 minutes then knead until fairly smooth (I did this in the bowl with the dough hook of my electric hand mixer for about 15 minutes). Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, or until puffy and nearly doubled in bulk.  Gently deflate the dough, shape into a log and place in an 8  x 4-inch bread pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and allow dough to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan.  Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 45 minutes, tenting loaf lightly with aluminum foil for the final 20 minutes of baking.
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It looks like real bread!  And tastes like it too!
Let me tell you, I was thrilled to look in the oven halfway through baking and see a monstrously tall crust growing from the pan.  It’s working! And I was even more thrilled when I cut into the loaf to reveal it’s crumby insides.  It’s dense, but soft.  Subtly sweet.  And has a slight crunch when you get a walnut bite.  It may not the prettiest looking thing – I like to think of it as “rustic” – but it’s mine all mine.
Have you ever baked bread from scratch?  How’d it go for you?

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28 Responses to “Walnut Molasses Whole Wheat Bread”


  1. 1 VeggieGirl April 16, 2009 at 7:58 am

    HOLY YUM!! You rocked your first time baking it!! 🙂

  2. 2 Melissa April 16, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Wow, that looks amazing! I am totally afraid of making bread from scratch, the waiting to rise part just doesn’t seem like it would work with my patience levels 🙂 But I have been dying to make cornbread for weeks. I am still looking for the perfect recipe.

  3. 3 Lauren April 16, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I think your bread loaf looks gorgeous! I’ve made a few loaves in my bread machine and a few using the good ol’ hand-knead & rise method. I’ve had both pleasing & disappointing results. The taste is always great, but the texture isn’t always perfect. I have trouble cutting thin slices of homemade bread without it crumbling. I’m actually thinking about purchasing a bread cutter!

  4. 4 Hangry Pants April 16, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Yes!!!! I love making my own bread, but sadly I had to give my mom her Kitchen Aid back and even though I know I can knead by hand, it never comes out the same.

    Anyway, I am so excited for your new experience. You’re going to be baking bread non-stop! There are some good bread recipes on the Bob’s Red Mill site.

  5. 5 Pearl April 16, 2009 at 9:30 am

    that was your FIRST time baking bread? WOW!!!

  6. 6 Wiggs April 16, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Ahem. Here’s what happened the first time I attempted to bake bread: http://iamthebeholder.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/ive-been-bested/

    Apparently I killed the yeast. Stupid yeast. My second attempt (on the same day as the first) was a success, though!

  7. 7 Amy April 16, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Yum, that homemade bread looks beautiful and delicious.

  8. 8 Dani April 16, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Ashley… you’re blog is a very dangerous place for me!! I love baking but I’m more of a one-for-the-oven-one-for-the-baker kind of girl, so I can get myself into some baking hot water! every time I come here, I have to bookmark yet another recipe…
    As for pretty, rustic out does pretty any day of the week when it comes to food in my opinion. Rustic means made with love… what could be better than that?

  9. 9 Jennifer April 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Isnt’ that such a great feeling!!?

    Up until a few months ago I was scared of yeast! I didn’t know if it would work. I’ve made the Artisan bread in 5 minutes basic recipe (you can google it to get the receipe)

    It’s so good!

    I love how your bread turned out, thanks for the recipe!

  10. 10 sweetandnatural April 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    VeggieGirl – Thanks for the pat on the back! 🙂

    Melissa – It’s actually not that bad b/c you can go do other stuff while you wait – run errands, clean your room, buy a pint of soy ice-cream and eat it… You know, whatever floats your boat. 😉

    Lauren – I totally wanted one of those bread cutting machines as soon as the loaf came out of the oven! I’d love a bread machine, but I have NO where to put it in my apartment!

    Hangry Pants – Do you have an electric hand mixer? I used that, with its dough hook, and it wasn’t too bad. Still takes some muscle, but much better than hand-kneading. Thanks for the BRM reco!

    Pearl – Aww…thank you!

    Wiggs – Looks delish!

    Amy – Thanks!

    Dani – I am lucky to have a garbage disposal for a boyfriend! 😛

    Jennifer – All I want to do now is make bread!

  11. 11 raspberryrunner April 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    i love homemade bread!!! i’ve only made it from scratch once using zesty’s easy whole wheat bread recpie (no kneading involved!) and it turned out great 🙂

  12. 12 Danielle April 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    That bread looks delicious!
    I’m so afraid of baking bread and I don’t really know why! Something about the yeast scares me from doing it!

  13. 13 Kate April 16, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Yay – so glad you are getting use out of the King Arthur book! This bread looks delicious!

  14. 14 Alison April 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for your post! I have always wanted to make homemade bread. And thanks for saying how long you kneaded with your electric mixer. Most recipes never specify a time and I think it helps.

  15. 15 Sharon April 16, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    Oh my gosh, I want to try this! Making bread at home sounds like an awesome idea, and I have never thought of doing this!

  16. 16 Gena April 16, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    Congrats, Ashley! that looks awesome.

  17. 17 Jenn April 17, 2009 at 7:44 am

    What a beautiful loaf! I love making bread for my husband and I…I don’t even buy it anymore. I just started about a month ago and I’m a tad obsessed. I borrowed the Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book from the library and ended up buying it…everything in there is made with whole wheat. Look it up! PS just stumbled on your blog the other day and have really been enjoying it!

  18. 18 Hayley April 17, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    Congrats! Baking bread is the best. The results are always so impressive and tasty. Thanks for sharing!

  19. 19 Angela April 17, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    WOW that was your first time bakng bread??? Are you SURE??? lol. Its amazing; look at that rise!

    My first experience was utter horror. I tried making SPELT bread which is the hardest bread to make rise apparently (didnt know this!) and I have been too scared to try since!

  20. 20 Angela April 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Well I should clarify.
    I make bread- out of a bread machine now! hahaha

  21. 21 sweetandnatural April 18, 2009 at 10:25 am

    raspberry runner – I’ll have to look for that recipe!

    Danielle – Do not fear! It’s not as difficult as it may seem. 🙂

    Kate – Thank you so much for that book! I LOVE it and can’t wait to use it more.

    Alison – Knowing how long definitely helps when you’re not totally familiar with what it should look like when it’s done!

    Sharon – Let me know if you give it a try!

    Gena – Thanks!

    Jenn – Glad you enjoy the blog! I will look into that book – it sounds great.

    Hayley – I know! I’m slightly obsessed after only one attempt. 🙂

    Angela – I wanted to try spelt bread, but thought I’d go with whole wheat first – just to be safe!

  22. 22 Recipe man April 19, 2009 at 1:02 am

    hey! this looks so good.i love the smell of fresh bread. this is a very healthy bread. i hate the stuff they put into the bread they sell inthe shops. i always wonder why they need all that.. bread should be so natural

    thanks

  23. 23 ttfn300 April 19, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    lovely bread!!! nothing beats a homemade loaf 🙂

  24. 24 Shannon (The Daily Balance) April 20, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    go YOU! ROCKSTAR! that bread looks AH-MA-ZING 😉

  25. 25 Roy and Ashley McRea January 11, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Hi Ashley,

    We are new to blogging but not new to breadmaking. We love your site. Your photography really adds so much to the appeal of the site. We grind our own wheat for flour for nutritional purposes. The molasses and walnuts are a twist that we are going to try.

    Please visit our site to see what we are doing.
    http://ashleysnaturalbreads.blogspot.com/

    Roy and Ashley

    FYI- When we Google our site yours always appears too!

  26. 26 Lejing May 4, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    How many ounces of flour for 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour?

    Thanks!


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