Brown Bread and Coffee... and Jane Eyre

I read Jane Eyre a few months ago, and it was such a compelling book that I had to start pacing myself towards the final chapters because I didn't want the story to end.

Charlotte Brontë has given me a new comfort food: brown bread and coffee! Jane Eyre is given a serving of brown bread and coffee on her first day at Lowood, toward the end of chapter seven. My brown bread probably isn't very similar to Jane's at all. It's made with whole wheat flour, oat bran and flax seed, and I generally make buns instead of loaves because they are more manageable. A comforting snack of brown bread and coffee is a perfect remedy for one of those moody days when everything seems to be going wrong. Thanks, Charlotte!

Jane Eyre's Brown Bread

2 ½ tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup turbinado sugar
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees if you have a thermometer)

3 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup oat bran
½ cup ground flax seeds
½ tsp salt (you might want to use more salt, this is plenty for me)

¾ cup warm soy milk (also about 110 degrees F)
¾ to 1 cup of warm water (also about 110 degrees F)
¼ cup melted Earth Balance

1- In a small mixing bowl stir together the yeast, sugar, and warm water let them sit for 5 minutes.
2- In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, oat bran, flax seeds, and salt.
3- Add the yeast mixture, milk, water and oil. Knead for a few minutes until a smooth dough forms.
4- Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise some place warm for 45 minutes.
5- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
6- Take bits of dough and form them into buns. I always make mine slightly smaller than a tennis ball. Arrange the buns on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
7- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes until golden brown.