Nothing smells better or is more tantalizing than baking bread. The aroma wafts through the house, forging an inviting ambiance of warm anticipation. When I got my first whiff of this plant-based bread, my spirits soared. I smiled with satisfaction. It was delivered as promised, perfectly rising bread, 5 healthy ingredients and no kneading required.
As I rushed to the oven to spy through the glass, I wondered if it could get better. Of course. That happened when I discovered how amazing it tasted. All this without effort, another slice without guilt. Those are big kitchen wins by any standard.
Bread and the plant-based diet
I’ve wasted far too much of my life avoiding bread. Convinced that bread possessed the evil powers and intent to detail my weight loss goals, I rushed by bakeries without looking in, cursed the supermarket muttering that it should be illegal to bake during opening hours and pretended that all bread tasted like cardboard.
Ultimately, I failed in the attempts.
In the end, I didn’t give up bread. And what’s more, I rationalized somehow that store-bought wraps and tortillas were healthier. And when I finally claimed back reality and started reading labels, it became clear to me that most of what I could find (and afford) in the stores were way off my plant-based aspirations. Along with the additives designed to extend shelf-life, nearly all of them – even the corn tortillas, contained oil.
If you are following or aspire to follow a whole-food, plant-based diet, the guiding principles are simply contained in the name.
Whole food – natural foods that aren’t heavily processed. Whole, unrefined or minimally refined ingredients. No rationalizing or tradeoff required – our knead not plant-based bread is made with whole wheat. Criteria fulfilled.
Plant-based – foods not derived from animals. 'If it has a mother, choose another'. if you are using a sweetener (as I did), make sure you avoid honey. I opted for maple syrup, but you could also use agave syrup or date paste.
There is on-going debate and frustration about bread in plant-based circles. Some of it is entirely justified. One of the reasons I spent years engaged in the bread wars was that I’d get home with what I thought was a healthy option, only to discover that although there was whole wheat in there, maybe even 100%, that bread was not just made from wheat and yeast. Sugar, oils, ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.
But, I’m not one to be defeated so I looked for another escape hatch to jettison me from the bakery aisle with my self-control left intact. Rather than doing the walk with a fresh baguette shamefully tucked under my arm, I decided it was time to make my own.
Because there’s always an option.
Bring the bakery home
It wasn’t a revelation to make my own bread. I’d done that a time or two for sure. But my old standard recipe from a Betty Crocker cookbook I acquired eons ago, as good as it was, was not adaptable to whole food plant-based eating.
Back to basics
When you get down to it, there are three essential ingredients in bread – flour, yeast, and water. And yes, you can stop there and make great bread. I ended up adding just a bit of salt (½ teaspoon) and 2 teaspoons of maple syrup. For our tastes, this is the right balance of salt and sweet so the bread can stand-alone, ready to be dipped into your favorite soup.
No need to knead
Like the sign says, this is no-knead bread. This is the recipe for anyone who wants fresh bread, but who doesn’t want to put in the time or effort for kneading. I admit, when I first tried this, I was less than convinced, but it’s come out perfect every time I’ve made it.
Letting it rise
Unlike my old school recipe, you also don't need hours to let it rise. About 20 minutes will do the trick. My only caution is that you want to find somewhere that is relatively warm and draft-free. When it's been particularly cold in our house, I use a trick of turning the oven on at the lowest temperature for a few minutes and sticking the loaf pan in there. After I've cut the heat, I'll let the bread rise in the oven. It’s a great hack as long as the oven is just slightly warm.
When you make bread you never want the water you use or the pan you put it in to be too hot. This may cause the yeast to activate less and fallen, heavy bread is no fun. Too cold can have the same effect, so keep everything warm.
Weird side notes and tips
When I first made pita bread, I merrily went on my way, having not made bread in years and I did like always, covering the dough with a damp cloth. I didn’t get the result I’d planned for. Unlike years ‘before’ I wasn’t giving the dough a healthy coating of oil. When I picked up the cloth, not only did I discover half the dough stuck to the cloth, I was never able to use said cloth again. It’s permanently infused with dough.
That only happened one time when I first tested my pita bread recipe. After that, I started asking why. Why do we cover dough? The idea behind covering it is to keep it from drying out, but with only 20 minutes of rising time for our whole wheat bread loaf, you need only to cover it lightly with parchment paper. Even a big bowl or box over the top that doesn't touch the dough would work. Just try to avoid having to clean dough off a cloth. Not fun. Not fun at all.
Keep it clean
Also, I have a fairly new bread pan, but if you have any inkling that your bread may stick to the bottom of the pan, you can line it with parchment paper. If you do, just be aware that the bottom of your loaf will not be quite as brown and because the parchment paper will hold a bit of moisture, something your whole wheat flour has quite a lot of, you may want to add a bit more baking time. If the bread is getting too brown on the top, you can cover it with that parchment paper you hopefully didn’t throw out.
Cooldown (just a minute)
I have a funny memory of my mom balancing a loaf pan, turned upside down and set on strategically placed cans. In retrospect, that isn’t the most practical way to get the bread out of the pan. For one thing, it may break in the middle which is a shame after making such a beautiful loaf.
I know, the smell, the anticipation, the taunting can be overwhelming, making even the most disciplined cook go rogue. But patience pays here. You want to let the bread cool and contract slightly before you take it out of the pan. When it starts to cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan to assist it in separating. This only works for the edges though. You'll need to grant your bread about 10 minutes before you rescue it from the pan and slice it up. Then, all bets are off. Amazingly delicious, healthy plant-based bread – is meant to be eaten.
I can completely relate to Oprah Winfrey’s famous "I looooooove bread. I love bread!" legendary meme. Me too Oprah, me too. Fortunately, you can have your bread and you can eat, plant-based slice by plant-based slice. Peace.Print
Effortless knead not plant-based bread
Effortlessly make perfect no-knead plant-based bread with healthy whole wheat, yeast, salt and maple syrup and enjoy slice after tantalizing guilt-free slice.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 slices 1x
- Category: On the Side
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 4 cups (520 gm) whole wheat flour
- 1 Tbsp. or 1 packet dry yeast (11 gm.)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp maple syrup or another liquid sweetener
- 2 cups (480ml) warm water
- In a small glass dish or measuring cup mix together the maple syrup and the water.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt.
- Slowly start adding the water, mixing as you go to ensure all the ingredients are wet. You want to use all the water.
- Pour the dough into a loaf pan (I used a 9 x 5 inch)
- Lightly cover the pan with parchment paper or something the dough won’t stick to and set it somewhere warm. Allow the dough to rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 4000 F (2000 C) bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes.
- Allow the loaf to cool for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
- Store uneaten bread (if there is any) in an airtight container or wrap tightly in foil.
- Leftover bread can also be frozen. Slice it first so it thaws evenly.
- Although the ingredients in this bread follow whole food, plant-based guidelines, you can also make this with a mix of whole wheat and ground, unbleached flour. I have not tried this with gluten-free flour. When I do, I will update this post.
Keywords: plant-based bread
Thank you Denise for a sumptuous and an equally health quotient raising recipe
You are more welcome! We've had great luck with this recipe. If you ever run into trouble on the rising front, check out my post for a few tips. Best, Denise.
Love this recipe, so easy. I used 3 cups stone ground whole wheat flour and 1 cup of dried spent grains, was amazing
It's great to hear you love this bread recipe as much as we do. We are still making it at least weekly and it's SO much better than store-bought. Thanks for sharing your flour substitution. I'm going to try that next time.
Lol plant-based bread. Almost all bread is plant based. You are not doing anything unique
Thanks for checking out this recipe. Although bread is traditionally based on flour (which is plant-based), there are other ingredients often used in bread such as eggs, milk, honey, and royal jelly, casein and whey, and gelatin (and a few others) that are not plant-based. For this reason, we encourage everyone to carefully read labels or make bread so you know exactly what's in it.
I’m just 3 weeks into a wfpb lifestyle & am loving it. I’m not a bread maker in general but have been doing research & am wondering what kind of yeast to use. I purchased active dry yeast. Will that work or do I need instant yeast?
Hi Connie, let me know how the bread works out. Great connecting with you on FB. Let me know if you have any questions - always happy to help.
It is awesome! Thank you for your recepie. I made it yesterday and it desapiered. I am making it today as well.
It has a way of disappearing in my house too! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your good bread news with me. I've not been making another bread recipe since I discovered this. Best to you!
I was looking for WFPB bread and came across your recipe in Pinterest, so glad I found you! Your bread looks and sounds deli, will definitely try it out. Thanks! Stay safe & healthy!
I'm happy you've found me 🙂 We love this recipe. It is really easy. The only difficult part is that it disappears quickly. My best to you.
What kind of yeast do you use in this recipe? I have active dry yeast
Hi, active dry yeast is the stuff you want, so you are in luck. Happy baking - l love this bread 🙂
Hi, would I be able to take out the sweetener and instead use savory spices if I wanted a more savory bread? This looks delicious, I can’t wait to try it. I’m a full-time college student working a full-time job and very poor, only have a little money left after rent. I try to maintain my health by following WFPB, but it’s a challenge when you’re as poor as I am haha. I love that this doesn’t have any crazy expensive or obscure ingredients and is super easy and quick. Just what I need
Hi Parker, it's no problem to take out the maple syrup or even cut the amount in half. I actually don't think you'd need another spice to keep this savory. Perhaps add a pinch more salt? Maybe a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, but that's more of a niche ingredient. Good luck with the bread - it's way better than store-bought. And good luck with your studies, I commend you. 🙂
My packets of active dry yeast are 7 grams each, and measure just under a Tblsp,,so I used a bit more than a packet , about 10 grams. In the oven, hoping for a good result!
I think you'll be good to go. As long as the yeast is in date and it doesn't get cold, you can do a bit of 'estimating' (at least in my experience. Fresh bread, I envy you - it's on our tomorrow to-do list. Cheers!
I tried to make this and their was not nearly enough water to make the flour anything I would describe as wet. It made a tough ball of hard dough that would have required lots o kneeding to make it a smooth consistency. It definitely wouldn't "pour" definitely a plop though. 2 cups of water to 4 cups of flour??
Hi, what kind of flour did you use? We (meaning usually my husband) make this bread weekly using the 4 to 2 ratio. I'm asking about the flour because it does vary depending on the type and brand. It's possible that you need to add more water. Did the bread rise or was it to dry? Let's work through it and see what we can come up with.
The ingredients of the flour say whole wheat flour. It's Gold Medal Brand. I let it rise for an hour. It didn't make it to the top of the pan but it came up a little. Then I tossed it in the oven. It formed a rustic hard crust on all sides. It rolled out of the pan easily. It was very challenging to saw through the crust. The bread was very dense but the taste was good. If I knew what the dough should feel like I could adjust the water. Should it "pour" out of the bowl?
Gold Medal shouldn't be overly heavy. My husband reminded me that when he makes it, if anything, there is a bit of water in the bottom of the bowl. The crustiness is probably because it needed more water. When you try it again (and hopefully you will). Start with the 2:4 ratio and if needed, definitely add more water. It does come out of the bowl with a consistency that is moist and pourable. Not quite a batter, but definitely not firm. Definitely, keep me posted.
I had to us 2.5 cups of water and let it rise for 50 minutes to get it up to the top like your photo. I also took it out of the oven 5 min early.
I'm glad you tried it again. How did it turn out?
Significantly fluffier! I need to get some more yeast to try one more modification otherwise this is a great recipe. This is the first bread I have ever made. I have been cooking WFPB for 3 years now and am very happy to finally be taking the bread leap. This bread is very tasty. My kids like it too. Thanks!
Good for you! I am so pleased you stuck with it - and congratulations! Making bread is kind of a big deal (at least it was for me). We make at least 1 loaf of this exact recipe every week. It's my husband's job now 🙂 One tip to keep in mind, be sure your bowls and pans are warm. Yeast can be really fussy.
Let me know if you have any questions - I'm here to help.
Everyone measures differently. Do you fluff the flour first, or just dig the measuring cup into the bag? Measuring by weight is the most accurate, especially w bread.
Hi, I scoop it directly from the bag, but you are right. We make this weekly, so next time I will weigh it and give you proper amounts. Cheers, Denise.
Hi, Looks interesting. Just wondering: I grind my own flour. Am I right in guessing that Gold Medal flour is comparable to “pastry flour” (or the white grain rather than the red)? Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Hi, I'm not sure about Gold Medal flour, but I use a whole wheat flour (it's a brownish color). Not the white kind. I'm sure you can use your own ground flour. If it more dense, you may need to add a little less.
This was without a doubt the easiest bread I have ever made. Weighing the flour is imperative. I found that 520g was a little more than 3 cups here--that would explain the people who had a hard rock if they relied on scooping the flour. I also found the second time I made it, I sifted the flour and it seemed like I was using far too much water. So weighing and sifting definitely help results.
I'm experimenting with WFPB (no oil) so my purchase options were Ezekiel bread at almost $7 a loaf. Buying name brand white whole wheat flour from King Arthur, I calculated the cost of this bread at $1.50 a loaf. I also timed the process and it took me literally 12 minutes--something I'm willing to do weekly for our health. Thank you for this recipe!
Thanks so much for your testing. I agree with the weighing of flour given the different kinds out there too. And the cost factor? Wow! That's a real motivator 🙂 I really appreciate your testing and reporting out - this is going to help a lot of folks. Cheers.
Keep in mind that store-bought whole wheat flour will have the wheat germ removed, since the wheat germ would go rancid during storage. So add a spoonful or two of wheat germ to your flour.
Thanks for that reminder - it's great information and something to consider - love the idea of adding wheat germ too. Thanks 🙂