I baked this loaf for a friend who has a fiendish addiction to Ezekeil raisin bread. I thought that making him something from scratch would be special, but I ended up digging in first (hence the nibbled loaf). Needless to say, he never saw this bread and the rest is history!
* If you choose to use only whole wheat flour this loaf will not rise to the fullest and will be a bit dense and heavy. If you use only White flour, it will puff up just fine, but may be missing some of the Earthy texture. This is why I put both flours in the recipe. If you only have one kind, just go ahead and use what you have.
2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast
1 c. warm water (110)
1/2 c. evaporated cane juice
½ c. agave
¼ c. oil
1/3 c. milk
2 ½ c. whole wheat flour
1 c. Pastry flour
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 ½ Tbl. Cinnamon
* 1 egg yolk for brushing
*milk should be at room temp as not to shock the activated yeast.
Take ½ cup of warm water and put it into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the sugar and let dissolve. Add yeast and a quarter cup of flour. Whisk this mixture until the little yeast particles look dissolved. Let this yeast mixture set until foamy and bubbly looking. If nothing happens after 10minutes then your yeast is not activated or your yeast is too old. To activate the yeast, simply take the other ½ cup of water and split it between a ¼ c. of boiling water and ¼ c. lukewarm water. The heat should activate the yeast if it is not too old. If you use all boiling water, you will kill the yeast and have to start all over. The yeast just needs a little extra heat to activate it.
When the mixture is looking all foamy and activated, add the remaining water if you have not done so, and add the agave, oil, milk. Whisk all of this together before you add the flour,cinnamon, and salt.
Once the mixture comes together, it may seem a bit tacky or too loose. If this is the case, add more flour until you can comfortably transfer the dough onto a floured surface without too much sticky stuff coming off on your fingers. Knead the dough for 7-10mins. From my experience, longer is better!
Put kneaded dough into a oiled mixing bowl and let rise for one hour in a warm place. Cover the bowl with Cling wrap or a damp towel.
After the dough has doubled in size, punch down and transfer to a floured loaf pan. Cover and let rise for one hour.
After fully rising in loaf pan, take one egg yolk and 1/4 tsp. of water and whisk in a bowl. Use a pastry brush and lightly coat the top of the dough with the egg mixture to give a shiny gold finish.
Once the second rising has taken place. Bake the loaf for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until the top is deep golden brown.
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