Wholewheat House Bread

2014-11-18

A recent visit to the pantry lead me to discover that there was some whole wheat flour that was going to expire in the near future so finding a recipe for it was in order. I turned to Sarabeth’s Bakery cookbook and found her seeded house bread. All ingredients were on hand so it was time to put the recipe to the test.

RECIPE

3 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 1/4 cups cold water
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 3/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 tablespoons hulled sunflower seeds
Softened unsalted butter, for the bowl and pans
1 large egg, beaten with a hand blender, for the glaze

Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm water (about 110 degrees F) in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes to soften the yeast, then stir to dissolve. Pour into the mixer bowl. Add 2 cups cold water and the honey and whisk to combine.

Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the paddle attachment. Combine the whole wheat flour, 2 1/4 cups of the bread flour, the cornmeal, sesame seeds, and salt in a large bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and seed mixer. Beat until a dough begins to form. Gradually add enough of the remaining bread flour to form a rough dough that cleans the sides of the bowl. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook. Knead on med-low speed until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, about 5 min, again adding a little more flour only if necessary – keep the dough soft. During the last minute or so, add the sunflower seeds.

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface. Knead with your hands to check the dough’s texture. It should be slightly sticky but not stick to the work surface. Knead in more flour only if needed. Butter a medium bowl. Shape the dough into a taut ball. Place in the bowl, turn to coat with butter, and turn smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 1/4 hours.

Cut the dough in half. Shape each piece into a ball. Place on lightly flowered work surface and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 15 minutes. Butter two 8 by 4 by 2 1/2 -inch loaf pans. Working with one ball of dough at a time, gently press to deflate the dough. Pat the dough gently into a thick 8-inch-long rectangle. Starting from the long side, roll and shape into an 8-inch-long loaf and pinch the long seam closed. Place, seam side down, in the pan. Cover the loaves with a clean lint-free tea towel and let rise until they dome about an inch above the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Brush the tops lightly but thoroughly with the beaten egg. Bake until the loaves are browned and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped, about 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and cool completely on the rack.

Modified slightly from Sarabeth’s Cookbook

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