Low-Carb Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Walnuts

After nearly a month of no bread eating because of the South Beach Diet, I decided to knuckle down and make the whole wheat bread recipe from the South Beach Diet Cookbook. I am in phase 2 of the program now, so there's no harm in having bread again. When I went to the store, of course, I couldn't find whole wheat flour. I was wanting to combine the South Beach bread recipe with Nigella Lawson's brown bread recipe, and of course there wasn't any rye flour for that recipe, either. I ended up getting some white whole wheat flour (by King Arthur Flour), which is basically flour made from soft white wheat that still has the fiber intact like regular whole wheat flour.

This recipe came together really quickly with the aid of my Kitchen Aid stand mixer and dough hook. I didn't have to knead once, and once the bread was done mixing in the machine I drizzled it with a little oil to coat, covered it, and stuck it in the fridge to rise slowly overnight. So, if you are intimidated by bread making, this recipe is for you! All you need is a dough hook, but even if you don't have one just knead the dough by hand and it's still easy.

I think the combination of the original recipe and Nigella's basic white bread recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking really made this bread perfect. Her directions are more detailed, and I used her tips of a cold, long rise overnight in the fridge to cut down on effort. I was really impressed with the final result, too. I've made whole wheat breads before and had them be crumbly and dry, but this bread, while dense, is quite light with a delicate crumb. The flavor of the white whole wheat flour is less prominent than regular whole wheat flour. The walnuts, while adding healthy monounsaturated fats, also add texture. I had an end piece hot from the oven with natural peanut butter slathered on it, but I can't help but think this bread would be the perfect vector for some well-made chicken salad.

Low-Carb Honey Whole Wheat Bread with Walnuts

1 1/2 cups water (at room temperature)
2 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp honey
3-3 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp gluten flour (aka: vital wheat gluten)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp quick rise yeast
more white whole wheat flour for dusting
more extra virgin olive oil for oiling the bowl
nonstick cooking spray

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the water, oil, honey, 3 cups whole wheat flour, gluten flour, walnuts, salt, and yeast. Turn on the machine to form a rough dough. If the dough is very sticky, add some of the remaining 1/2 cup flour and mix some more. Let the dough stand in the bowl with the dough hook removed for 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, you could use a wooden spoon or your hands to mix the dough instead of the dough hook.
2. Place the dough hook back in the dough and let knead for 10 minutes. If the dough starts climbing too much, use the rest of your reserved flour, and maybe a little more. Alternatively, you could turn the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes.
3. Place the dough in a bowl oiled with olive oil. I just re-use the mixing bowl. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm spot for an hour, or until it has doubled. You can also let it slow rise in the refrigerator overnight: cover the bowl with plastic wrap and then a cloth and sit it in the fridge until it has doubled.
4. Once the doubling occurs, preheat the over to 350 degrees F.
5. Turn the dough onto a board and shape it into a loaf. For country-style bread, place the bread onto a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray to cake. For a neat and tidy loaf, place the bread into an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan. I like to try to remember to place the most attractive-looking side of the bread dough face up onto my baking surface (as Julia Child would say, there is a public side and a non-public side...I like the public side face up).
6. Bake the bread for 40-45 minutes. The outside of the bread should sound hollow and not yield when you tap your finger on it.
7. Remove the bread from the oven and turn it onto a cooling rack. Try to eat a warm heel of the bread as soon as it's cool enough to handle.

Makes 16 slices:
Per slice:
Calories: 130
Fat: 5 g
Saturated fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 220 mg
Carbohydrates: 19 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 4 g

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