Sunday, January 24, 2010

Whole Grain Golden Flax Bread

Even though there's almost nothing better than the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house, I really have to work up the motivation to bake some because it certainly seems like so much damn work, doesn't it? Once I get going though, it's ultimately a comforting task, particularly when frozen rain is glazing every surface outside and there is no sun to speak of.

This recipe started with some golden flax seeds I bought at the store. I'm not sure why I bought them except that I hadn't ever seen them before and I was intrigued by the fact that they were more expensive than regular flax seeds (hi, I'm a total sucker). I then paged through my cookbooks and found a recipe from King Arthur Flour for a whole wheat bread that utilized seeds and molasses. I tweaked the recipe a bit, adding in some rye flour and a different combination of seeds.

It really turned out nice. Golden brown in color and flecked with poppy, sesame and golden flax seeds, the texture is soft but hearty with a nice chewy crust. It has a touch of sourness to it (in a good way) that I enjoy. I've been toasting it each morning and spreading it with butter and honey.

For one loaf:
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup rye flour
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon absorbic acid (such as Fruit Fresh - this will help with the rising)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons golden flax seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup unsulphured molasses

Combine the water and milk in a measuring cup and heat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds so that it reads about 105-110 degrees on a thermometer. Pour about a 1/4 cup of the mixture into a bowl and stir in the yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes until frothy.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the white whole wheat flour, rye flour, 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and the melted butter. Add the milk/water, yeast mixture, absorbic acid and salt. Beat for a couple minutes. Add the seeds and molasses beating until well-combined.

Switch to the dough hook and add the additional cup of flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if needed to prevent sticking. When the dough is smooth, a little sticky, and elastic remove from the mixing bowl and form into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place for 1½-2 hours until doubled in size.

Squeeze the dough to deflate it, form it into a loaf size and place in a lightly greased loaf pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set aside. Now, this part is important: You want the dough to rise until it is 1-inch above the rim of the pan. This can take anywhere from 30-90 minutes. If it rises too much, the dough won't rise properly in the oven and the texture will be off. So, keep an eye on it.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until it is browned on the outside and sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack, remove from the pan, and let cool for 30 minutes more before slicing. Store in a sealable plastic bag.

Adapted from a recipe from King Arthur Flour.

1 comment:

Keri said...

Hi.... Love your writings. I can relate so much to what you said about how you ate growing up. Too funny. Great recipes too, and a great blog. I do sandwiches (and bread sometimes) on my blog. Nothing fancy, but lots of fun. I'm following you now. Thanks, Keri (a.k.a. Sam)