The Unexpected Ingredient That Will Majorly Upgrade Your Whole-Wheat Bread

Homemade whole-wheat bread is a major upgrade from the store-bought alternatives. And if you're looking for a way to upgrade your go-to loaf recipe, Mashed can help.

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn uses her baking knowledge to upgrade an already-apt whole-wheat bread recipe for Mashed. The methods she employs makes the process straightforward — it doesn't even need any kneading. Instead, Hahn recommends mixing the ingredients with a Danish whisk — a unique beater with three coils — which, in Hahn's words, is "designed to cut through [the] dough without over-mixing or getting stuck." (Alternatively, a wooden stirring spoon will suffice if you don't have access to this specialized whisk.) This whole-wheat bread recipe is light on labor and baking time, but we can't say the same for the 12- to 18-hour proofing period.

Once you have the basic dough-making process down pat, Hahn has a suggestion for how to make the bread recipe even better.

The whole-wheat bread upgrade

Miriam Hahn's Mashed-exclusive whole-wheat bread recipe requires the standard dough ingredients: whole-wheat flour, salt, dry yeast, and lukewarm water. But there's also a not-so-standard component: molasses, refined sugar's more robust cousin.

It's the simplicity of the recipe that is its selling point. The rich, dark syrup goes into the mixture with the lukewarm water after the two types of flour are combined with the salt and the yeast. When everything comes together in a thick consistency, the resulting dough will have a tell-tale dark color from the molasses. Once baked, the bread will have a brown tinge and a modestly sweet flavor.

The most important part is that the molasses comes through subtly. As Hahn puts it, the ingredient "adds a little sweetness, a hint of spice, and a touch of savory — all very complementary to wheat bread without overpowering it." The latter gives the bread an all-purpose attribute, allowing it to pair well with sweet preserves or to function as a sandwich base.