The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

flaxseed and oat bran questions

msbreadbaker's picture

flaxseed and oat bran questions

A question regarding the use of flaxseed in baking breads. A bread I baked some time ago had flaxseed as an ingredient and after eating it I made the mental note to either crush them or grind them the next time. Any thoughts on that? I have another recipe that calls for flaxseed and it does not call for grinding first. Is it common to leave them whole?

Then, about oat bran. I had to buy more than I needed for a recipe, have a whole unopened box and am looking for ways to use it. It appears to be very healthful, but I am not sure of the substitutions I could make in bread baking for instance. I looked on the internet and not much is there.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Jean P.(VA)

MangoChutney's picture

When I put flax seeds in my whole wheat sourdough bread, I soak them overnight in liquid with the bulk of the flour.  I also soak with them the sesame seeds that are in that recipe.  The soaked seeds adhere well with the dough which I make in the morning, and cook into the bread without any problems.  They give the crumb of the baked bread an interesting speckled appearance.  They also affect the texture and flavor, but do not fall out or get stuck in my teeth.

When I put flax seeds in the microwaved oatcake that I make for our breakfast, I grind them along with the oat groats.  I would not expect them to soften enough to be digestible, in three minutes of microwaving.

When I make whole wheat pasta, I grind flax seeds with the wheat berries.  I make the dough and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, to hydrate both the wheat and the flax, before rolling the pasta.  In this case, I am using the flaxseed flour as a binder in place of eggs.

clazar123's picture

Whole flax seed is almost indigestible and often comes through your system intact. Grinding (in a coffee grinder) works well and the full nutrients are more available. Unfortunately, it can spoil faster so keep any leftover amount in the freezer.

Add the oat bran here and there to pretty much any recipe but know that it will make the outcome more dense and will need a little more moisture so increase the liquids. If you want to use it and not notice much, prob keep it to a 1-2  tablespoons per 2 cup of flour recipe.

Conjuay's picture

I purchased some flax seed for multigrain bread and an "Oster" mini grinder figuring that would work (as someone mentioned earlier in this posting) like a coffee grinder and cut the flax into digestible pieces... -wrong!

The seed just bounced around like it was in a tornado, and survived intact!

So, I added a little bit of water, figuring the seed would be weighed down a little, and the blade would be able to chop them.

-Wrong, again! The seed firmly "planted" (sorry!) themselves all over the sides and top of the bowl and I had a devil of a time cleaning them off,  finding out later that have a gelatinous coating.

So I've wasted twenty dollars on a mini processor, and decided to just add the stubborn flax to the other grains and allow them to soak until tomorrow.

Would soaking the flax until it sprouted help? I've read that flax sprouts aren't very tasty.

Would a mortar and pestle be the best way past these hulls?

Thanks for any advice,


msbreadbaker's picture

Your question regarding using a mortal and pestle for crushing these seeds does not work! It is very tedious and results are not good. That's why I bought a grinder just for that, but have not used it yet. I was surprised to read from one of the respondents to this thread that it was hard to get them ground in the mini-grinder. Mine is not a mini, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Jean P. (VA)

verminiusrex's picture

I add flax meal to almost all my breads, it's already ground and gives the bread a wonderful flavor. And I must admit I like the kind of "rustic" look the little flecks of flax meal give the loaves. I usually do about 2 teaspoons flax meal per pound of flour (about 3 1/4 cups flour if you use volume measurements). Flax meal is avaialble at just about any grocery store. 

cgmeyer2's picture

i add 2 - 4 tbsp of ground flax seed to all of my baked goods (bread, cookies, pancakes, etc). i use a dedicated coffee grinder to grind spices/nuts, etc. grind it really fine - i count to 10 & sometimes 15 to get a fine grind. i always store my ground + whole flax seed in the freezer in order to prevent it from becoming rancid.

hope this helps.