It’s not my intent to rush the season. The beach is still a draw, but the air was more than slightly cool this morning when I took Daisy out. Heading to the kitchen shortly to bake a couple of loaves of bread and some cookies that I promised to make for a party tomorrow night. It’s a nice day for baking.
Making wheat bread today. It’s really a combination recipe that has sort of evolved over the years. Most of the kneading is done in the mixer with a dough hook, so it’s pretty easy.
I’ve found that if you add a handful of various seeds to a basic whole wheat bread recipe, the end result is way more than the sum of its parts. You’re adding crunch and flavor in addition to fiber. I like to use a combination of sunflower, sesame, pumpkin and poppy seeds, but any combination would work. Today, all I have on hand are sunflower and sesame seeds, so that will have to do.
Crunchy Whole Wheat Bread
2 TBS yeast (2 packages)
1 C warm water
1 C warm milk
1/2 C sugar (or honey)
3 TBS canola oil (or melted butter)
2 C whole wheat flour, stone ground if possible
1 TBS salt
1 egg (optional)
4 C unbleached white flour (approximate)
1/2 C mixed seeds (any combination of sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy)
1. Stir the yeast into a cup of warm water; sprinkle with a little sugar to feed the yeast and allow to proof.
2. Warm the milk in the microwave for a minute in a two cup Pyrex measuring cup. Add the sugar (or honey) and the oil (or butter) to the milk.
3. Mix the whole wheat flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the proofed yeast and the milk mixture and beat with a wooden spoon. Add the egg at this point, if you’re using it. I usually add it because it seems to lighten the loaf. If you have a heavy duty Kitchen Aid mixer, this whole process can be done in the mixer.
4. Add the white flour slowly ( about a 1/2 C at a time) until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will still be soft and sticky at this point. Flour amounts are always approximate in breadmaking. The amount can vary from day to day, depending on the humidity in the air.
5. Start kneading, either on a well floured board or with the dough hook attachment on the mixer.
6. Slowly add the seeds during the kneading process. Add small amounts of flour as needed to make a workable dough. The dough should feel flexible and soft, but not sticky.
7. Let rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap until doubled in bulk. (About 1 1/2 hours)
8. Once the dough has risen, knead it briefly and form it into two loaves.
9. Place the loaves into two greased 5×9 inch pans; cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. (About 45 minutes)
10. Bake in a pre-heated 375 oven for 40 minutes. Bread will sound hollow when you remove it from the pan and tap in on the bottom.
11. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
This is a really good bread for sandwiches, and it makes wonderful toast.