You know I usually like to keep things simple (Keep it Simple/Dec 2013), but this is well worth the extras. If you have a co-op like we do here in Rochester (Abundance Co-op) you can buy just what you need in their bulk section (plus leave there feeling good about supporting a community-owned business!)
This bread is perfect to make this time of year, especially if you’re in the snowy areas of upstate New York. We’re patiently waiting for Spring. The taps are finally going in to our maple trees and our seeds for the garden have arrived.
We have a variety of new seed packets lined up next to our usuals. It’s only a matter of time.
Darrell likes to keep things interesting so there’s always an experiment or two growing out in the garden (white radishes and purple carrots last year!) Consider this bread along the same lines. It’ll add interest to your current repertoire and may even become a favorite go-to bread. It’s fast becoming that for me!
If you have little ones, get them to help. They might get curious about what might happen when you start with an oatmeal like mix. They can mix up a concoction of seeds for the top (recipes are guides in my book, some things are meant to be messed with). Let them “paint” the top of the bread with the egg wash, too, before sprinkling that concoction on top.
I doubt my grandmother, or my mother for that matter, ever thought they were creating memories that would carry and hold me as an adult, but being in the kitchen alongside them did exactly that.
The same potential exists in my kitchen, and yours.
This recipe came from a Cooks Magazine and is technically titled
Mix together and let stand 10 minutes.:
1 1/2 cups 7 grain cereal
2 T honey
2 T vegetable oil (I substituted olive oil)
After waiting the 10 minutes, add…
3 1/2 cups bread flour (I did not substitute in all purpose thinking it might need the extra gluten to support that grainy cereal addition)
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 T yeast
Knead it for 6-8 minutes. Feel for the texture changes. Enjoy the kneading. Think about the texture of your own life and how change subtly takes place in us, too!
2 T pepitas/pumpkin seeds (I didn’t actually measure, just sprinkled. You’d be safe to add in sunflower seeds as an alternative or addition)
Knead for 3-4 more minutes.
At this point, you can degas it a bit and put it into an oiled bowl. I used a 2 1/2 quart pyrex (you can see it in the picture) and it worked perfect. This will make one large round loaf just like one you might get at a bread store! I’ve also divided the dough and made it into two loaves (8 x 4 pans).
Let it rise again until double in size. While it’s rising mix together:
tsp of pepitas
3 T sunflower seeds
(NOTE: I’ve used my own combinations; sesame seeds, extra pepitas, no sunflower seeds, millet…..get a mix of things and get creative or, better yet, let the kids get creative!)
Turn the oven on to 375 degrees and put a small oven proof pan in there to warm up, too (so you can create some steam when you put your bread in)
If you’re making a big round, tip the bowl onto a cookie sheet (I parchment lined). You may need to gently ease it out. Don’t worry if it looks a little mis-shapen (I’m mis-shapen a bit and I’m ok so how could bread be different??)
Make an egg wash (an egg beaten with a little water; you don’t need much so you might want to put some of the egg to use in something else…or make yourself a little scrambled egg snack). Paint the top of the loaves with a little egg wash (another great job for the kids!) and sprinkle with seed mix. I usually dab a little extra egg wash over the top of the seeds, too.
Make a slit down the center of the loaves or a cross pattern if you’ve done a round.
Pour about a cup of water into the heated pan in the oven and put your bread in. (The steam gives it a great crust!) Bake about 35-45 minutes or till it passes your thump test!
Feel free to experiment. My cousin Cindy told me she has used both 8 grain and 12 grain cereals and called it “Birdseed Bread” because of the millet. Please comment in with any changes you make to the recipe (or any clever names you come up with!)
See you around the bread bowl!