I always get the urge to start baking as soon as the weather gets cooler… This past weekend we (already!) had our first snow and I’m in the mood for this tasty (and healthy!) whole wheat seed bread. Serve warm with butter or jam, a glass of tea, and a good read – and you’re in for a real treat! AND it makes your house smell amazing to boot!
Bread is my favorite thing to bake. The feel of the dough in your hands, the smell of freshly baked bread, the crunch when you take a bite… There really is no better workout than kneading bread too! That’s usually my justification for inhaling the whole loaf… 😉
I like to vary the amounts of seeds in this recipe – feel free to alter to your liking!
It’s all in the Dough…
The best way to tell if a bread dough is just right takes practice. Over time, you can predict how the bread will turn out, just by the feel of the dough! I like to start the dough in a stand mixer, and turn it out and hand knead it after all the ingredients are incorporated. At first, the dough will be a little sticky. You can flour or oil your hands before kneading and add a little flour to the kneading surface (bench) to prevent this. I prefer to oil them – but that’s a personal preference (Paul Hollywood does this too so it’s clearly the right way, hahaha!)
Bread does it’s best when it has plenty of time to rise and develop gluten, so patience is key. After kneading the dough for a few minutes, you’ll notice it starts to come together and become less sticky. A good rule of thumb is that once the dough stops sticking to your hands, it’s time to let it rest! Oil a bowl, roll the dough into a bowl, and lay to rest – covered – in a warm place.
You don’t need a “proving drawer” like the contestants on Great British Bake Off use – a nice warm place will do the trick. If you’re leaving the dough to rise at room temperature, that’s fine! Just give it 15-20 minutes longer to double in size. The bread will have better flavor that way, anyways! If you’re in a pinch, a warm dryer that has just completed a cycle (make sure not to turn it on though!!) works well. Or if I’m in a hurry, I’ll start to heat my oven to the LOWEST possible temperature it goes to for 3-5 minutes, and turn it off ASAP. This creates a nice, warm space for the bread to rise!
I love making this loaf freeform, which means it isn’t baked in a loaf tin or bowl. I allow the dough to rise in the bowl. Then I’ll turn out onto a lightly floured baking sheet, let it have its second rise, and it’s ready to go! The dough will hold it’s shape as long as you’ve been patient with it and allowed the gluten to form.
You can make a design on the top of the loaf by “slashing” patterns on the top! The slash marks are more than just a pretty design. They allow for trapped steam to leave the loaf and gives it room to expand while baking so you don’t get wonky shapes or holes.
Because this bread is made with whole wheat, it starts a little darker than other loaves. Keep a close eye on the loaf. You’ll know when it’s done if you can tap on the bottom and it sounds hollow. Don’t cut in as soon as you hear the hollow sound though! Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes so the very inside has a chance to finish cooking with the residual heat. Then dig in!
Whole Wheat Seed Bread
Whole Wheat Seed Bread
- 400 g whole wheat bread flour
- 100 g plain bread flour
- 15 g yeast
- 10 g salt
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds
- 2 tsp black sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp carraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
- 1 tsp flax seeds
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp raw pepitas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/5 cups + 5 tsp cold water
- bench flour
- olive oil for the bowl
Combine bread ingredients in a bowl or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment until a ball forms.
Knead dough until smooth, using bench flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface.
Oil a large bowl – ideally a bowl larger than double the size of the dough as it will need to rise.
Place the kneaded dough ball into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for an hour to an hour and twenty minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Punch down the dough and transfer it to a loaf pan, rising basket, or put it back in the oiled bowl for the second rise.
Cover and return to a warm place. Allow the dough to double in size again. This process should take about 20 – 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the dough in a loaf pan, or turn out onto a lightly floured cookie sheet. Bake for 30 – 45 minutes until the loaf is golden brown on the outside and sounds hollow when tapped.
Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing and serving.
I’m thrilled that this recipe was featured in the fall edition of Where Women Cook! I am so beyond excited to be featured – and i’ll be sharing more of the featured recipes from my piece soon!
Tell me, did you try this bread? What are you favorite bread baking tips? Drop me a note in the comments below!