Seven Grain & Seed Bread

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    two

    loaves

Appears in

Lots of recipes for multigrain breads simply call for adding a 5-, 7-, or 9-grain breakfast cereal to some fairly simple bread dough. This recipe goes one step further by including flavorful grains and seeds that bake into a loaf with excellent texture. The best place to shop for these ingredients is a health-food store or a supermarket that has a “bulk” foods department. Please don’t be afraid to ask for a taste of the items you purchase, especially the seeds, since they can become rancid very quickly when stored at room temperature.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • cup sunflower seeds
  • cup poppy seeds
  • cup sesame seeds
  • 5 teaspoons (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, about 110°F (45°C)
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup medium or whole grain rye flour
  • 4 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
  • Two 9 × 5 × 3-inch (23 × 13 × 7-cm) loaf pans, buttered and the bottoms lined with rectangles of parchment or buttered wax paper cut to fit

Method

  1. Combine the oats and boiling water in a medium mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Let the oatmeal cool, then stir in all the seeds.
  2. Whisk the yeast into the water in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine the flour, whole wheat flour, rye flour, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Use the paddle attachment to mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Add the butter and mix again until it is evenly incorporated.
  4. Add the oatmeal and seed mixture and the dissolved yeast mixture to the bowl and mix again on low speed until a soft dough forms. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Return the bowl to the mixer and, using the dough hook, mix the dough on low to medium speed until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Scrape the dough into a buttered bowl and turn it over so that the top is buttered. Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the room temperature.
  7. Once the dough has risen, invert it onto a floured work surface and use the palms of your hands to press it into a rough rectangle. Use a bench scraper or a knife to divide the dough in half.
  8. Press and stretch one of the pieces of dough into a rectangle a little longer than the loaf pan. Fold the two short ends inward to make a rectangle approximately the same length as the pan. Roll up one of the long ends, jelly-roll style, and pinch the seam together. Invert the formed loaf into one of the prepared pans, seamside down. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
  9. Cover the pans with towels or buttered plastic wrap and allow the loaves to rise until they completely fill the pans, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.
  10. About 20 minutes before the loaves are completely risen, set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  11. Place the fully risen loaves in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bake the loaves until they are well risen, deep golden, and firm, about 30 minutes. Cool the loaves in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold them and cool on their sides on racks.

Serving

Excellent at breakfast or brunch, this bread is also very good toasted. I also like it combined with ham, cheese, or a combination as a sandwich.

Storage

Keep the loaves loosely covered at room temperature on the day they are baked. Wrap in plastic and freeze for longer storage. Defrost the loaves and reheat them at 375°F (190°) for 7 to 8 minutes, and cool before serving.

Variations

You have the most leeway with the seeds. You may increase or decrease the quantity of any of them as long as you have 1 cup of seeds total. Sometimes

I use ¼ cup each of the seeds listed and add ¼ cup of black sesame or nigella seeds. Cooked brown rice may replace up to ½ the oatmeal. Add it to the oats and water at the beginning.

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