After admitting to my failing and debauchery, I stand before you with the reason I baked bread this week. As time goes on, I keep trying new recipes so that I can improve my baking skills and perhaps, over time, create a personal library of bread recipes. In short, my own personal bakery.
Artisinal bread was quite the rage around here for awhile. Now that the Brea bakery is a subsidiary of a European company, I am finding that the rage is starting to die down. Trader Joes used to have delicious breads but the quality is also going down. There is a local bakery that makes fabulous breads but it will now cost you an arm and a leg to purchase a single loaf. The last time we thought about purchasing that particular bakeries’ kalamata olive bread, it was almost ten dollars a loaf. I still buy bread if I am pressed for time. Sometimes it is worth it when you have a big meal to prepare and a sourdough loaf could take hours sometimes days to create. But when I have time, the most amazing things can be created.
I love a loaf of bread that tastes like it has taken a lot of time to prepare. My favorite loaf would be anything with seeds, especially a mixture of seeds. Seeds are flavorful and each kind has it’s own personality. Get a good mixture and it can change plain bread into something special, get a good mixture on a good bread and you have something amazing on your hands.
I based this loaf on the changes I made to the Sunset hearth baked chili cheese sourdough. This time, I went to Sunset’s original recipe, I added some whole wheat flour and swapped out semolina for the cornmeal I added last time. The bread I ended up with has a good grainy flavor, a dense but soft crumb and a brown crunchy exterior topped with a wonderful combination of seeds. The seeds are really what makes this bread so enjoyable. It’s all about texture and flavor!
I’m not sure how much more experimentation I’ll be doing, I am beginning to notice that I haven’t bought bread in weeks. We keep revisiting the different loaves I have made over the past couple of years. I think I have my own personal bakery now.
I am submitting this loaf to YeastSpotting. If there was a heaven for bread, this would be it.
Seeded Multi Grain Loaf
1 cup water
1 ½ cups active sourdough starter
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup stone ground whole wheat flour
¼ cup semolina flour
½ cup rye flour
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp salt
1 egg yolk mixed with a tbsp of water
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp caraway seeds
In a large bowl, Mix together all dough ingredients, mixing with a rubber spatula until all of the ingredients are combined and form a solid mass of dough. Turn the dough out onto a wooden board and knead for at least 10 minutes until you can stretch the dough and see through it without breaking it (window pane test). Wash and dry the bowl. Oil the bowl and place the dough in it, covered with a clean dish towel. Allow the bread to rise until doubled, three hours or more in a cool kitchen.
Turn the dough out onto the wooden board. Flatten it out into a rectangle and then fold it from the short sides inward like you are folding a letter. Flatten it again and fold it again. Form the dough into a tight ball and place it in a floured banneton. Let the dough rise until doubled again up to 3 hours.
Place a pizza stone in your oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Dust a peel with cornmeal and turn the dough out onto the peel. Mix all of the seeds in the topping ingredients list together in a small bowl. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle the loaf liberally with the seed mixture (you may have a little seed mixture leftover). Slash the loaf and then place it in the oven. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until browned and the bread makes a hollow sound when you tap it on the bottom. Place the bread on a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.