Whole Wheat Oil-Free Vegan Bread Machine Bread

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Our need for fresh  bread always seems to sneak up on me. Sometimes I bake a couple of loaves and think "This should be enough for the rest of the week," and then my husband starts eating it for snacks and I run out and have to make some on Thursday or else I won't have anything to send in his lunches on Friday or for him to eat for breakfast (he is not an oatmeal person and gets up too early to run the blender).

A little while ago I spotted several bread machines at a local thrift store and decided I'd give one a go. I realized that baking bread was one of those things that kept me at home, unable to go for walks, etc. when I was baking it the regular way because I couldn't just leave the house with the oven running (my gluten free bread takes 1:45 to bake and I'm still working on adapting it). So in the interest of a bit more freedom and freezer space, this bread machine came into my life for relatively cheap.

I experimented a bit with different bread recipes and my bread kept falling. I thought there had to be something wrong with that and started tweaking the recipes.  I finally tweaked a recipe in The New McDougall Cookbook that was created for a much less modern bread maker (it requires heating up the water to 110 degrees Fahrenheit and manually softening the yeast, which is not necessary with my bread machine. I also found that the ratio of liquid to flour ratio was a bit off) and found that it made a great whole wheat sandwich bread, perfect for toast and lunches. I've never frozen it since we go through so much bread and the bread machine method only makes one loaf at a time (but with very little input from me), but I imagine it would freeze just fine if you waited until it was completely cool and double bagged it.

Without further ado, this is what has ended up as my go-to recipe.

Whole Wheat Oil-Free Vegan Bread Machine Bread


1 + 1/3 cups water (for my machine, I just use regular tap temperature water)
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons salt
3 + 5/8 cups whole wheat flour
3/8 cups vital wheat gluten
4 teaspoons instant yeast


  1. Add the water, agave nectar, and salt to the bread machine pan. The kneading paddle thing should already be in place in the bottom.
  2. Combine the whole wheat flour and vital wheat gluten in a gallon zipper bag. Make sure the bag is sealed tight and has a decent amount of air inside, then gently shake to combine the flours. I usually hold the zipper with one hand just to make sure it stays closed.
  3. Pour the flour mixture into the bread pan on top of the water and use your finger to make a well in the center.
  4. Add the yeast to the well you just made in the flour.
  5. Place the bread pan into the bread maker and lock into place.
  6. Plug in/turn on your bread machine. Most machines have a whole wheat setting. Select that. I usually select a medium crust shade, but if you prefer your bread more or less dark, light or dark should also work. Press start.
  7. After the machine has been mixing the dough for a little bit, open it up and scrape down the sides with a rubber scraper. The dough has to be pretty tough in order not to fall later, so you might have to smash the dough down into the corners a bit to make sure you catch any stray bits of flour.
  8. Once all of the flour is incorporated into the dough ball, shut the lid and let the bread machine do its thing. It should do all of the kneading, rising, and baking steps for you.
  9. When the bread is done, carefully open the lid of the bread maker and use an oven mitt or two to help remove the pan. Tip the bread out onto a cooling rack. Sometimes this will take a bit of jiggling if the kneading paddle doesn't want to come loose from the pan.
  10. Carefully cut along the bottom of the kneading paddle and remove it from the bread. I find that I can easily remove mine by sticking a stainless steel straw in the hole in the bottom and using that to pop it out.
  11. Set bread upright and allow to cool. The nice thing about regular wheat bread is that, unlike most gluten free breads, you can cut it while it's still warm without gumming up the knife (and all of the other Celiacs can cry with me now--but at least I've figured out a bread solution for the non-Celiac in the house).

*If your bread machine's standard directions differ from my method, follow those instead. Some machines want you to add the dry ingredients first. Some require warm water and don't incubate the dough like mine does. These little variations might be enough to make or break your bread making experience, so be sure to follow the proper method for your machine.

Also, I should note here that the exact ratio of flours to liquids can vary a little bit on the humidity, so if one day your dough seems like a slightly different texture, either too dry or too wet, consider adding a couple of tablespoons more water or flour so that your results are consistent.

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