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Need More Whole Grains? Try Rye Bread

In my seemingly never ending effort to incorporate more whole grains into my family's diet, I bought a large bag of rye flour, which I've been turning into multiple treats. Although plain rye bread is great, I opted for something a bit different--a deep, dark rye bread with chocolate, dried cranberries, and walnuts. The bread is only a little sweet, and it's chocolatey without being overwhelming. The dried cranberries and walnuts add a little extra tang and crunch. The recipe makes two loaves--one to eat and one to share. Try the bread, toasted, for breakfast. It's also great for a snack, perhaps smeared with a little low-fat cream cheese.

Dark Chocolate Rye Bread

Dark Chocolate Rye Bread -- Makes 2 Loaves

2 cups of water, warmed about 2 minutes in the microwave (or until about 120 degrees)

3 cups of flour, divided

3 cups of rye flour

1/4 cup of canola oil

1/4 cup of dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons of molasses

2 packets (.25 ounces each) of yeast

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of cocoa powder

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of chopped walnuts

1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips

1-2 teaspoons of canola oil

In a large bowl, combine the warm water and 2 cups of flour and whisk them together well. Add the canola oil, dark brown sugar, and molasses and whisk them in. Whisk in the yeast. Cover the mixture and let it sit for about an hour or until bubbly and/or about doubled in volume. Stir in the remaining flour, the salt, and cocoa powder. Gradually add in the rye flour, about a half cup at a time, stirring first with a spoon and then kneading in the last of the flour (do this in the bowl to save on the counter clean-up) to form a soft dough. Knead in the cranberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drizzle the dough with a little canola oil and turn it in the bowl to coat all sides of the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch the dough down and shape it into two small, round loaves, placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or spray the baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray). Cover the loaves loosely and let them rise for an hour or until about doubled. When the loaves have risen about half-to-three-quarters of the way, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 30-45 minutes or until their centers reach about 200 degrees on an instant read thermometer. Let the loaves cool completely before slicing them (if you can).

Dark Chocolate Rye Bread

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