Monday, September 3, 2012

Seeded White and Whole Wheat Bread

My latest attempt to make delicious whole wheat seedy bread was a success.  I used a mix of white and white whole wheat flour, and added oats and more seeds to make it airier and give it more flavor.  I'm still refining the recipe, but my wife and I think it's a winner.

I'm still chasing that delicious bread we had on vacation in July, and while the White Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread came out pretty good I'm trying to get a fluffier, airier bread with a crunchy, flavorful crust.  I'm going to do three things differently; I'm using white flour along with the white whole wheat flour, adding more seeds to the dough, and using water to better stick the seeds to the crust.

In two years I've hardly touched the sesame
seeds; today I used half the bottle

I've decided to add whole golden roasted flax seeds, old fashioned oats, and sesame seeds to the sunflower seeds the recipe calls for.  I added 1/4 cup of each of the flax seeds and oats, and about 1/8 of a cup of sesame seeds.  I was going to use 1/4 of a cup of sesame seeds but it seemed like too much, so I just estimated half of the 1/4 cup measure and added them all to the dough when the recipe instructs you to add 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds.

After 30 minutes the sponge
has puffed up quite a bit
The recipe calls for making a sponge, or a starter to activate the yeast.  The sponge is made with all the ingredients but only 1 1/2 cups of flour, then left to rise for 30 minutes.  I decided to use white flour for this portion of the recipe, and use the white whole wheat flour for the remaining 2 cups of flour in the recipe.

When I tried this recipe the first time (found here), I had a hard time keeping the seeds on the crust of the bread.  There were several different methods I found online for sticking the seeds to the bread, but this discussion on was most useful to me.  One person suggested using an egg wash, which would definitely stick the seeds on there but somehow doesn't seem right to me.  It gives the crust a shine that is perfect for a sweet bread like challah or zopf, but I don't think the bread I'm trying to duplicate had a shiny crust.  Some recommended using egg whites, a little water, and a pinch of salt, but this would give the bread the same shiny crust.  I decided in the end just to spray the bread with water then sprinkle it with seeds right before baking in the oven.

Pouring the seeds for the crust
For the seeded coating I mixed sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds in a 1/2 cup measure.  I meant to add some of the oats to the outside as well but when the time came, I forgot.  Then when I started pouring the seed I realized I had prepared too much, but it was too late to anything about it really, and I decided to go for broke and pour it all.  For the sides I put my hand next to the bread to keep the seeds from bouncing off and going everywhere; some were lost but a lot stayed on.  This is going to be some seedy bread.

Just before going into the oven
I tried to touch the loaf as little as possible before putting it into the oven, so I didn't push the seeds into the outside of the bread.  I didn't want to compress it at all for fear of losing the airiness given off by the yeast.  When I picked it up from the above cutting board to put in the oven my fingers left indentations in the bread, but in the course of baking they disappeared.  I followed the adjusted cooking time and temperature and steamed the bread to create a crunchy crust like I did with the Sunflower Seed Bread and on the Forno Bravo website.

Fresh out of the oven
Letting the butter melt a bit
before rubbing it into the crust

The bread came out good, better I think than the Sunflower Seed Bread, but still not as airy as the bread I'm trying to make.  I wonder if I should give it even more than the close to three hours it had to rise, like overnight perhaps.  But I did enjoy it more than the Sunflower Seed Bread; the extra seeds gave it a nuttier flavor and it was great with just butter or with honey.  My wife thinks it's the best one yet and that it would be really good for sandwiches, but next time I won't use any white flour.  It didn't seem to make the bread fluffier at all, so there was no real benefit but a loss of fiber and nutrients.  I think the most important thing for next time is to let the bread rise overnight, but at least it does keep improving.

Ready to eat

No comments:

Post a Comment