Bread-Snob Country Seed Loaf

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I’m kind of a bread snob.

In my opinion, bread isn’t good unless it:

  • crackles when I press the crust
  • sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom
  • is light and airy, yet chewy on the inside
  • can be eaten and enjoyed completely on it’s own—with nothing on it or maybe just butter

(To be clear, I am referring to yeasted breads, i.e. ciabatta, baguettes and sandwich loaves.)

(Also, what’s with me and all the lists lately?? They make me feel like I know what I’m talking about)  (^_^)

The French seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to bread-baking, as do the Swiss and the Italians. In any of these countries, you can go into almost any supermarket or bakery and find a decent loaf; here in the US, however, this is surprisingly not the case. And even if you do make a trip to one of those “artisan” bakeries, you’re still not guaranteed a proper loaf.

You’re only option then is to do it yourself. And that takes practice. Measurements need to be exact and methods properly followed. In addition, recipes have to be adjusted according to baking environment and ingredients—obviously baking in Southeast Asia is different from baking in Switzerland. No matter what kind of bread, it always takes me a few tries (and failures) to get everything right.

I recently tried this whole-wheat country seed bread from CookingBread.com for the first time. The only changes I made were to seed types and amounts. The original recipe called for flax- and poppyseed; I wanted a nuttier flavor and texture, so I added pumpkin and sunflower instead. Also, for amounts, I just guesstimated and pretty much put in as much as I wanted.

This bread is really everything good bread should be—crusty on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. I adore breads with tons of seeds in them.

And doesn’t it just look lovely! I’m so proud of how it turned out!

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Bread-Snob Country Seed Loaf (adapted from this recipe at CookingBread.com)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons sesame seed

2 tbsp sunflower seeds

2 teaspoons (instant) dry yeast

1 1/4 cups water

2 tablespoons liquid honey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a large bowl, stir together all-purpose and whole wheat flours, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and yeast.
  2. In small bowl, whisk water, honey, oil and salt; stir into flour mixture to make a sticky dough.
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for about 8 minutes or until still slightly sticky and dough springs back when pressed in center, adding up to ¼ cup more all-purpose flour as necessary.
  4. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place for about 1 ¼ hours or until doubled in bulk.
  5. Punch down dough; turn out onto lightly floured surface. Gently pull into 11- x 8-inch (28x20cm) rectangle. Starting at narrow end , roll up into cylinder; press seam to seal. Place, seam side down. in greased 8- x 4 inch loaf pan. Cover with towel; let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk and about ¾ inch (2 cm) above rim of pan.
  6. Brush top with water. With serrated knife, make 1-inch (.5 cm) deep cut lengthwise’ along top of loaf. Bake in center of 400°F (200°C) oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (180°C); bake for 30 to 35 minutes (30 was enough for me) or until browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom.
  7. Remove from pan: let cool on rack before slicing.
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