The weather has been particularly nasty around here the past couple of days. Since I currently work out my home office, I’ve been trapped in the house with our three dogs as the rain, wind and even snow have rolled through the Chicago area.
It’s days like these that are perfect for bread baking.
The oven warms the whole house and the aroma of baking bread wafts through every room, turning a lousy day into a magical experience. Even the dogs cheer up.
Autumn is perfect for a heavier bread, such as this multi-grain loaf with sunflower seeds. It’s denser than a traditional French baguette or a softer Italian loaf, yet not so heavy as a pumpernickel or Lithuanian rye. It goes perfectly with a bowl of hot homemade soup.
I reverse-engineered this loaf because I’ve had some sunflower seeds lying around that I bought a while ago while on a health kick and wanted to use them up. And they fit really nicely in this recipe. You can leave them out, or substitute walnuts or even raisins.
So when the weather turns nasty outside your house, mix up a batch of this dough, turn on your oven, and turn your day around.
Sunflower Multi-Grain Bread
1-1/2 cups lukewarm water (baby bath water temperature)
1-1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or one envelope)
2 TBS honey
2 TBS molasses
2 TBS vegetable shortening
3 TBS nonfat dry milk powder
1-1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1 TBS EVOO
1 TBS corn meal
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
1. Whisk water, yeast, honey, molasses and shortening together in bowl of Kitchen Aid and let sit until mixture starts to bubble, about five minutes. Meanwhile, combine milk powder, salt and the flours together in a mixing bowl.
2. Using dough hook attachment (or just a wooden spoon), add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until dough is formed, about two minutes. Then add sunflower seeds and mix until combined.
3. Pour out onto slightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes to finish dough. Grease the bottom and sides of a clean mixing bowl with EVOO then add dough ball, turning over to coat all sides. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free space until about doubled in size, about an hour. Punch down, then let rise for another 30 minutes.
4. Spray a sheet pan with pan spray and dust with corn meal. Cut dough in half and form into desired shapes (I usually make one round loaf and one long loaf, or you can use bread pans). Place on sheet pan and cover loosely with a dish towel and let rest about 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 385F. Use a sharp knife to make 1/2 inch slits every two inches or so, then brush loaves with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Place sheet pan in oven and cook 30 minutes. Cool on racks.
This recipe makes two 1 lb loaves. You can also use it to make about 24 dinner rolls, if you prefer.
What do you cook to warm up a cold, blustery day? Why not share your ideas in the comments section below? And thanks for looking at my blog!