When I buy bread in a supermarket it is always wholemeal and very often has seeds in as well. I often make my own bread, of differing kinds, so today I thought I would make some seeded wholemeal. However wholemeal flour tends to give a much denser bread that can achieved in commercial production. To make the loaf a lighter texture than can be achieved by using 100% wholemeal flour I decided to mix it with strong white bread flour. So I opted for 60% wholemeal and 40% white bread flour. Of course the loaf can be made with 100% wholemeal and it will be very tasty indeed, but it will also be denser than one which has white flour in too.
The process I used for making the bread is very simple, and it uses a stand mixer. However the entire process can be done by hand, of course, but that is quite a lot of work in terms of the kneading. The process involves creating a pre-ferment which I find helps the flavour as well as the eventual rise. However that step can be left out by simply activating the yeast for 10 minutes and then adding to all the flour. Also I allowed my dough to proof twice, doubling in size each time, before shaping and letting it proof in the loaf tin. The recipe will work fine with just a single proof for the dough to double in size, and then onto the shaping step. The purpose of my second proof was to, again, help with the rise.
Another variation is in what seeds are used. Although I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds the recipe lends itself to include whatever seeds a particular person wishes to use, such as sesame seeds and even pine nuts.
I was very pleased with how my loaf turned out. It rose well in the oven and baked into a lovely tasting, nicely textured, bread. I found myself eating rather more than I should have, with butter of course. This is a recipe that I shall return to many times, varying the seeds too, I am sure.
- 500g (3 1/2 cups) bread flour( I used 300g wholemeal and 200g white flour, but 100% wholemeal works very well and almost any ratio of flours will work too).
- 400ml(1 2/3 cups) lukewarm water
- 8g(1 packet) active dried yeast
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp oil ( I used olive oil, but vegetable it fine too).
- 80g(about 1/3 cup) of mixed seeds ( I used 10g Flax seed, 30g pumpkin seeds, 30g sunflower seeds and 10g chia seeds)
- Mix the flours together and place 100g of that mix into a bowl.
- Add the yeast and the sugar.
- Mix together and add enough water so that the mixture can be stirred and it forms a creamy batter.
- Set aside, covered, for 30 minutes to all allow the yeast to activate well, creating a pre-ferment.(this can be left for longer to give more flavour if required).
- Place the remaining flour into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt.
- Make a well in the centre of that flour and pour in the oil and the pre-ferment and then pour in most of the remaining water, holding a couple of tablespoons back.
- Knead the mixture with the dough hook until it all comes together.
- Increase the speed to med-high and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl and is nice and stretchy and still slightly tacky.
- Add the seeds and knead for a couple of minutes to ensure they are evenly distributed in the dough.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a minute or two.
- Form the dough into a taut ball and place into a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and leave to proof in a warm place for about an hour, until it has at least doubled in size.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock the air out.
- Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and form into a ball again(if you wish to do a second proof).
- Again place in the bowl and cover and allow to proof until doubled in size.
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knock the air out, then knead for two minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
- Flatten the dough out into a rectangle and then roll it up into itself to form a log.
- Tuck the ends underneath and place the dough into a lightly greased 2lb/900g loaf tin.
- Press the dough down into the tin, to cover the base entirely, into the corners too.
- Cover and allow to proof until the dough has risen above the top of the loaf tin.
- Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 210C/190C Fan/420F.
- Place the filled loaf tin into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, until tapping the bottom of the loaf gives a hollow sound.
- Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.