Fear not, I have the solution. You can make a really hearty whole wheat bread at home. If you're efficient in the kitchen - or at least halfway energetic - you can mix the stuff up in about 20 minutes, come back in an hour or so and knead it, then come back in an hour or two and bake it. Yes, it's easily done in between running some errands and hitting the trainer for a 60 - 90 minute sessions.
Whole wheat flour
All purpose flour (get the unbleached kind, it's better for you)
A packet of dried yeast
Steel Cut (not rolled) Oats
Salt - optional
Vegetable oil or any other oil that holds up to heating without giving a strong flavor or odor (canola, etc).
Other optional goodies -
Pack of fresh dill weed from the store
2 Finely chopped peeled & de-seeded granny smith apples.
Whatever your little heart desires to stick in the bread.
The largest non-stick bread pan you can get.
You can get all that stuff at Giant or Safeway, though the best deal on Steel Cut Oats is at Trader Joes.
Put a cup of steel cut oats in a large mixing bowl.
Put in a tablespoon of butter.
Add up to a quarter cup of molasses
Add a pinch of salt (optional)
Add a tablespoon or two of honey, and a comparable amount of brown sugar. (It's low glycemic, not sugar-free)
Pour a cup of boiling water over the ingredients in the bowl.
While that is cooling, pour a packet of dried yeast into a coffee cup. Stir in a half cup of lukewarm water. What's lukewarm? Warm out of the tap, nice feeling on your hands, not hot enough to burn. Once the water is stirred in, the yeast - living organisms - will come out of dormancy and start to foam up.
When the stuff in the mixing bowl has cooled to lukewarm, stir in all the yeast mixture. If you are adding walnuts, raisins, dill, caraway seeds, green onions or flax seeds, or other lumpy dry bits, add them now.
Stir in a cup of all purpose flour, and a cup of whole wheat. Stir vigorously, mixing thoroughly is key to getting the bread to rise evenly.
Add another cup of all purpose flour annd another cup of whole wheat flour. The mixture should start to thicken.
Keep adding flour 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, until the mixture turns doughy. It will get really hard to keep mixing.
At this point, stop mixing and throw a good sized pile of flour - any kind - on a large cutting board or other flat smooth surface. Drop the dough onto it, getting all the scraps out of the bowl.
The dough will be very sticky. Dust some flour on the top, and start rolling it and folding it so that the dough on top and on the board gets absorbed in. Keep a generous dusting of flour on the board, and as you fold the dough over and a wet surface is exposed, drop that surface on the flour and keep folding the dough over.
You've worked in enough flour when the dough starts to be resilient, when it starts to gently pull back into position after you press it down a bit.
Clean out your big mixing bowl, lightly coat the inside with oil, roll the dough into a ball, then put it back into the bowl and let it rise until it grows to roughly twice its original size.
(This will take an hour or two. Hit the trainer. Go out and buy the latest Velo News and an 11 speed Campy Cassette from the LBS).
When the dough has doubled in size, drop it onto the cutting board and knead it. Don't fold it over constantly, you'll only put seams in the bread that make it crack later - this is a pretty dense bread. Just mash it down a bit, then mush it into a ball shape by squeezing the edges inward. Do this for about 5 minutes until the bread is back to its original size.
Lightly oil your large breadpan, and put the dough in it, careful to push the dough down so it is flat topped in the pan.
Let the dough rise until it's peaking well over the top of the pan. Not too high, or you'll get these huge muffn tops that aren't good for cutting. But an inch or two over the top edge of the pan is fine. This should take one to two hours, depending on the temp in your house.
Preheat the oven well, to 375.
When the dough is risen and the oven hot, slide the bread in on a middle rack. Cook for 40 - 43 minutes for moister bread, 45-46 for dryer, grainier bread with more of a crust.
I've found that this bread sliced to 3/8 inch or just thinner makes a great sandwich bread or toast, and just one piece sliced to an inch makes a pretty good breakfast on its own, with maybe a piece of fruit and coffee. It is wool sweater hearty.
Additional notes - dill plus green onions or carraway seeds is a nice combination. Walnuts plus raisins is another. But you aren't limited by my list - I suspect quartered garlic cloves would give it a nice flavor too. You can also use more whole wheat flour and less all-purpose flour if you want. I find the whole wheat flour is pretty glutenous, it makes the bread stickier and denser, you can lighten it up a little if you want, and the unbleached all purpose flour helps you keep the nutritional value. Add some melted butter to the crust if you want it to bake up crustier, and add an egg if you're having trouble getting your loaf with lots of solid stuff - flax seed, walnuts, raisins, etc - falling apart. Try to not bang around too much while the bread dough is rising or if it's cooking. I haven't ever seen a loaf of this type drop, but I suppose it's possible.
So there ya go kids. Super healthy bread, a fun little kitchen project you can do with a friend, and overall a way to spoil yourself that actually enhances your health. Yep, I left out the best part, which is that the smell of the bread cooking is ridiculously lovely, and possibly the best taste in the world is a little bit of butter spread on bread fresh out of your own oven.
If you try it, let me know how it goes. I've been using this recipe for over a year now, and it gets easier to make and more convenient over time. My kid - turning 5 in a month - actually prefers this kind of bread to white bread. Amazing.