There’s things they don’t tell you. No, I’m not referencing the government or our mothers or even this flaxseed bread, although we’ll get to that later. I’m talking about having a baby.
When preparing for a new baby, we like to spend a lot of time dwelling on the details. Nursery colors, eating schedules, carseat safety ratings- the usual. We worry about the baby’s growth, the baby’s movements, passing our blood sugar tests, and whether or not we’ve gained the right amount of weight. When you sign up for parenthood (because that’s where babies come from, obviously), we spend so much time minding those basic fears and needs that we often overlook the aftermath- the anatomical apocalypse that typically ensues after labor and delivery.
I was faced with a reminder of my pregnancies this past weekend. About a month ago, I quit nursing George, but it was just last Saturday that I put on one of my favorite bras for the first time in over a year. I’m not going to sugar coat it- it wasn’t even close to being the right size. Where the bra was once flush to my flesh, there were now gaping, fist-sized pockets of space. I tightened the snap, cinched the straps, and readjusted “the girls”, but it was no use. My children, quite literally, sucked the life out of my breasts, and no amount of underwire or Kleenex stuffing was enough to make that bra work.
Obviously this is trivial in the grand scheme of things. HELLO, MY BODY NURTURED AND GREW A HUMAN- it’s the greatest miracle of my life! But mercy, I wish gravity and hormones would cut my lady parts some slack. Haven’t they been through enough trauma? Given that my chest gets smaller with each pregnancy, I project that Aimee and I will be sharing training bras within the next few years. At the very least, I’ll have the option of shopping for swimwear in the junior’s department again.
Tiny, fried-egg-on-a-stick post-nursing boobs are just the itty bitty tip of the iceberg. No one tells you about hot flashes, swollen feet, hair loss, or hormones. No one tells you about the, ahem, sanitary items you get sent home from the hospital with or the giant, granny panties that you’re forced to wear them with. No one tells you that the few ounces of flesh that used to sit perky in your bra are now going to be hanging low in the saddlebags of your nightmares. Why on earth would the universe leave us to discover these things in the privacy of our own mirrors at home? Why does no one tell us these things?
I say we band together. Let’s talk about the weird stuff that happens so that we’re not forced to deal with it alone. Let’s dust off all of the taboo things that the old fashioned think aren’t ladylike enough to talk about. Let’s just talk the facts. No one should have to discover new stretch marks on their own. No one should have to face those unspoken realities without a friend.
There’s things you don’t have to tell people about this flaxseed bread. You can just toast it, butter it, stack it in a sandwich, or make croutons for all I care. All I know is that people will love this flaxseed bread and they never have a clue that it’s healthy. It’s a 100% whole wheat bread packed with loads of fiber-rich ground flaxseeds, naturally sweetened with honey, and flavored with only enough salt to make the flavor just right. This is the soft, flavorful sandwich bread you can enjoy and feel good about eating.
This recipe for flaxseed bread is a modified version of my 100% whole wheat sandwich bread. To pack in extra flavor and fiber, we simply substitute some of the whole wheat flour for ground flaxseeds. It’s important to use ground flaxseeds (better known as flaxseed meal) and not whole seeds. Using the milled form of the seeds ensures that our bodies get the fullest benefit from the nutrients they have to offer, and remember, our bodies need all the help they can get, right?
We start by activating some active dry yeast in a bowl. Once dissolved, the honey, oil, and a bit of milk make an appearance to moisten all that whole grain goodness that we’re about to add. A pinch of salt, some flaxseed meal, whole wheat flour, and a little bit of vital wheat gluten rounds out the rest of the ingredients contained within the bread. After a couple of rises, the loaves are ready for a sprinkling more of seed and then the oven.
Once baked, these loaves are golden and nutty with a moist and tender crumb- the perfect vehicle for your morning toast, afternoon sandwich, or midnight schmear of peanut butter. I prefer to pair this bread with savory toppings, but it’s bread- you can literally use it for anything. The good news is that this recipe will make two loaves- one for you and
one to hide from your kids and eat yourself one to share with a friend! If desired, you can wrap the extra loaf in foil and save in the freezer as I like to do from time to time.
I hope you give this flaxseed bread a try and that we can continue to talk about the nitty gritty. Because it’s only Monday and I want to hang out with y’all at least once more this week, stay tuned later this week for a bonus recipe. HINT: it’s sweet and breakfasty and just the thing you need to make this weekend’s brunch extra awesome. I think you’ll love it. Happy Monday to you and cheers!
If you like the flaxseed bread, you may also like:
- 1 cup (240 mL) warm water
- 2 teaspoons (7 gm) active dy yeast
- 1-1/4 cup (300 mL) milk (I use 2%), room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) honey
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) light oil (canola, vegetable, or extra light olive oil)
- 3-3/4 cups (450 gm) of whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup (75 gm) flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons (20 gm) of vital wheat gluten
- 1 tablespoon (20 gm) salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds (I prefer flax, poppy, sesame, or chia, but any combination will suffice)
- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over the water and allow to dissolve, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the milk, honey and oil. Add 1-1/4 cups of the flour, flaxseed meal, gluten, and salt, stirring just until combined. Add the remaining flour and stir until dough is a fairly uniform, shaggy dough.
- Allow the dough to rest 30 minutes.
- In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment (or by hand, if preferred) knead dough until dough is smooth and only slightly tacky, about 7-8 minutes. If dough is too sticky, add up to 1/2 cup of additional whole wheat flour.
- Spray a large bowl lightly with baking spray and place dough inside, covering tightly with a sheet of Saran wrap. Allow to rest in a warm spot for about 1-1/2 hours, or until dough has risen and has approximately doubled in size.
- Once risen, remove dough from bowl and separate in to two equal pieces, handling the dough as little as possible. Gently form the dough balls in to small loaf shapes.
- Place dough in to two separate loaf pans (8.5" X 4.5" X 2.75") that have been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with Saran wrap and allow to rise again for about 45 minutes, or until the dough has just barely risen over the top of the pan. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water to create the egg wash. Once the loaves have risen, brush the tops of each with a thin coat of the egg wash and sprinkle with the seeds. Place loaves in the oven and immediately decrease the heat to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until loaves have browned and sound hollow when tapped on the top.
- Allow to cool in pan for ten minutes and then remove to finish cooling on a cooling rack.
- It is vital that bread rises well prior to being baked. If your bread is not rising well, place loaves in a slightly warmer spot in your kitchen. I let my bread rise next to a warm oven.
- Allow bread to cool completely prior to slicing.
- Bread will keep on the counter for several days but will keep best in the refrigerator for up to 6-7 days. There's no preservatives in this stuff so it won't last as long as your supermarket bread- eat fast!
- Wrapped securely in aluminum foil, bread will keep in a freezer for up to four months.