Thursday 1 December 2011

Wholemeal Loaf.

Our computer died.  Oh how I struggled without it.  I do a lot of work from home so it was a bit of a disaster.  It also means I am behind with my blogging and I missed two of the challenges for Short and Tweet

It's okay, though, as I managed to get up and running in time to post this wholemeal bread.  Now this is not a very exciting or flashy recipe.  But it works, it is easy, and it is wonderful.

Obviously this is a recipe from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet.

I won't post the recipe but obviously you can find some of Dan's recipes on the Guardian website.

Now, this bread is made with entirely wholemeal flour which made me worry it would be quite dense.  It's not.  It is lovely.  It has a crunchy crust which contrasts with the soft and light bread inside.  I first had it with butter - perfect - then for breakfast with strawberry jam.  The lovely chewy and nutty flavoured bread is the perfect partner to sweet strawberry jam.  I then made ham sandwiches for my lunchbox and they were beautiful.  I much prefer wholemeal to white bread.  It has more taste and more texture and then there are the obvious health benefits. 

But are they so obvious?  

Wholemeal bread is a great source of insoluble fibre which pulls fluid into the stool and decreases the transit time of food through your digestive tract (doing exactly what many laxatives do - would you rather a tablet or horrid drink or just a great piece of bread?).  This helps to reduce constipation (and therefore things like anal fissures and piles) but also reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.  I know that I'm probably preaching to the converted but you would be amazed how many children I see in my surgery with constipation caused by a diet poor in fibre.  These children have all sorts of problems now - constipation is a very painful problem, some children then get encopresis which is an unpleasant leakage of faecal matter (imagine how much of a social problem this is for tired Mums constantly having to clean soiled pants to older children who are ridiculed for pooping in their pants or being smelly) and, of course, -  in later life they will suffer from the discomfort of piles and a higher risk of bowel cancer.

Sorry, I didn't mean for this post to turn into a big nag but it is so important to prevent these problems and so very easy.  I say easy but I am well aware of how difficult it is to get children to eat what you want them to eat.  I do think it helps if they see their parents eating a diet high in fibre and eventually you should be able to persuade them to do the same.  As you may be able to tell, I am slightly obsessed with getting my boys eating lots of fibre.  I'm not perfect at it but I am trying.  We very rarely eat white bread.

I hope I haven't upset anyone who wasn't quite expecting to be told about yucky stuff like this when they came to read about bread but maybe it is better that we talk about these things. 

If anyone is having any problems with their child being constipated or soiling - please see the fantastic resources from ERIC

And for another good 


  1. A beautiful loaf of bread, and an top-notch post, Louise. I thoroughly agree about the fibre. We eat a lot of what's termed Danish-style open sandwiches in this household. Pumpernickel and rye bread (from Denmark or homemade), and it is rich in fibre. It has a very low GI number, which is good for hubby.

    I think it's so interesting that most people think if they eat brown bread that they're eating high-fibre bread. It's not, and I wish manufacturers would stop this twist of the truth. A lot of brown bread is actually 'tinted' with treacle and for fibre content you'd do better chewing on a loo roll.

    Anyway, love your bread. Glad your computer is up and running again.

  2. Thanks Misk.
    I do love rye breads and German black breads and all those yummy, interesting breads. Mmmmmm. I now have a craving for pumpernickel.
    Dan Lepard seems quite keen on rye flour - I see we are making a rye apple cake next week and I notice he does a rye brownie too. Looking forward to it.

  3. That looks like a great loaf Louise. I am lucky with Cooper, he loves his porridge and wholemeal bread, so we have no problems.

  4. That looks really good and you're so right, prevention is far better than cure!!

  5. oh no - computer meltdown is such a 'mare. I'm still recovering from our October fail.

    I thoroughly approve of your post! People need to talk more comfortably about bums and body functions (I always remember Lynn Faulds Wood saying something to that effect when she had bowel cancer).

    I've found the best way (so far) to deal with diet issues like white vs brown bread etc is simply never to let there be a choice. Bread is bread is brown for my little one, only because she doesn't know any better. Occasionally cafes have this exotic white stuff, but that's that. Mercifully the breakfast choice of muesli, porridge or bran flakes suffices at the moment too... except for when we stay in a B&B or something, and then there always seems to be the lure of something hideous, multi-coloured and loop shaped. Then the erstwhile dentist in me dies a little inside!

  6. OMG this is so delicious!!!
    With my best!!

  7. I'm relieved that you liked this recipe - a wholly Wholemeal loaf can have such a bad reputation that I hoped that people who baked this would be pleased by the results, whether or not they decided to cut the wholemeal content in the future.

  8. You made a lovely loaf and some good points about diet. I've linked to this post in mine. I am not the biggest fan of wholemeal bread, I am curious to know though whether other whole grains have the same useful insoluble fibre as wheat, i.e. rye and kamut and so on as I enjoy those more. I assume they do. I noticed on baking mine that the sugar makes the bread more palatable by masking any bitterness in the wholewheat and I wonder if that makes the bread more appealing to children too, as they tend not to like bitter tastes and their palates can be very acute?

  9. Your loaf looks really appealing. Since I started making my own rye sourdough, I rarely eat anything else - now I'm salivating. I had no choice but to eat wholemeal as a child, but it did feel like a real treat if I had tea with someone else! And the health issue is why I always use at least half wholemeal or spelt flour in my cakes.

  10. Great post - you are right, it is so important that we give our children a taste of the good things (not always easy I'll admit)

    Bread looks great, and I reckon that there really aren't many calories in there, as it goes right through!!!


    Tagged you!

  12. Your bread looks really lovely. My mum always wanted us to eat wholemeal, and we did until we went to school, where everyone else had white, so peer pressure won! This was the late 80s though, before there was such a big push on children's eating habits.

    I've come back to wholemeal though, for the flavour and like this bread, although I usually use a 50/50 mix of white and wholemeal - best of both worlds!

  13. Our computer was playing up for best part of 2 months, drove me nuts!!

    Your bread looks great, Dan's book is a good one. x

  14. Jac - that's great that Cooper eats so well. Porridge is a good start isn't it?

    Anna - Yes. I did get a bit carried away on this post, though. Getting on my high horse and lecturing for no real reason.

    Lil Mac - You would probably die if you saw how much sugar I let my kids have in a day! I find I am good at giving them plenty of the good stuff but then I balance this by letting them have loads of bad stuff too. Mainly because I want the bad stuff and have no will power. I need to make efforts to reduce the sugar and the sat fats a little from our diet. Maybe I'll start after Christmas?

    Manu - ooh good idea - I love prosciutto!

    Evidence - I did worry that it would be too dense but it wasn't at all. Most breads I make are half and half but after the success of this one I will be more likely to make more 100% wholemeal. Well, actually I am going to start being more adventurous with flours having been inspired by Dan and Joanna (Zeb Bakes) and others. Am waiting for some rye flour to come for this week's cake.

    Choclette - I have never used anything but white flour in my cakes. I need to start trying out some other recipes. Will be doing one of Dan's rye cakes this week but will probably have a look at your recipes and pick another one to try. I know I can get spelt flour easily enough locally.

    BVG - No calories at all, I reckon. Yes, that's how scientific I'm going to be this evening. I have work to do and am avoiding it!

    C - I have always tended to do half and half too but I am morelikely to do wholly wholemeal now that this loaf as been so tasty and a lot lighter than I expected. I grew up with Mum eating only white bread and Dad eating only wholemeal so I developed a taste for both and can happily interchange. I wouldn't eat supermarket sliced white but I can do their wholemeal as I am not organised enough to have homemade bread on the go all the time.

    Kelly-Jane - thank goodness we took it to the Apple Shop and got an appointment fairly quickly. They fixed it within an hour and made no charge for it. Brilliant. I couldn't have gone 2 months - that must have been awful!

  15. I swear, EVERYONE has been talking about dan lepard lately. I have never tried any of his recipes yet, but with everyone raving about him these days, I just might need to.

  16. Shu Han. If you google dan lepard, you will probably find quite a few of his recipes online - they are all published on the Guardian website - paper here in UK.
    So far, I have found the recipes all to be foolproof and rather yummy.