Whole-Wheat Bread in a Bag
1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour
1 package (¼ ounce) or 2 ¼ teaspoons rapid rise instant yeast
3 Tablespoons sugar or honey (see Notes)
3 Tablespoons powdered milk (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup oats (old fashioned rolled or quick-cooking)
- Wash hands with soap and water.
- Into a large (1-gallon) zipper-style freezer bag, put the whole-wheat flour, yeast, sugar, powdered milk, if desired, and salt. Squeeze out most of the air and seal the bag. Shake and work the bag with your fingers to mix the ingredients.
- Open the bag and add the warm water and oil. Squeeze out most of the air, seal the bag and mix the ingredients by working the bag with your fingers. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast activate and the flour soften.
- Open the bag and add 1 cup all-purpose flour and oats. Seal the bag and mix completely.
- If the dough looks wet and sticky, add more all-purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bag.
- Sprinkle some all-purpose flour on a clean counter or table. Take the dough out of the bag and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
- Lightly grease the inside of a bowl. Form the dough into a ball and cover the outside of it with oil by rolling it around in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean towel. Let the dough rise until double in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Rising will take less time in a warm room and more time in a cool room.
- After rising, poke down the dough with your fingers to let air escape. Shape the dough into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 8x4-inch bread pan and cover the pan loosely with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until puffy, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Uncover the pan, place it in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The top will be brown and a food thermometer put into the center of the loaf should read at least 190 degrees F.
- Remove the bread from the oven and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.
- Store the bread at room temperature in an airtight container.
- Honey is not recommended for children under 1 year old. If you use honey, add it to the bag with warm water and oil.
- You can use regular active dry yeast, but it may take about 15 minutes longer to rise. At higher elevations (over 5,000 feet) regular yeast may work better.
- You can add oats on top for decoration. Right before baking, lightly brush the top of the loaf with water and sprinkle with oats.
- You can make breadsticks or other shapes. After the first rise, divide the dough into 16 balls. Roll the balls into shapes and place on a lightly greased baking pan. Cover and let rise about 20 minutes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
- You can make mini-loaves. After the first rise, divide the dough in two to four pieces. Shape into loaves and put into 2 to 4 lightly greased small loaf pans (3 3/4x7 inches). Cover and let rise for 20 to 30 minutes. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes; a smaller loaf will cook faster than a larger one.