Monday, March 31, 2014

Triple-Seed Wheat Bread


               Bread baking has been a lifesaver for me. It's been a month since I returned home from the U.S. and I'm still not feeling like myself. I am struggling with how I am here versus how I am/was in the U.S. How I I really am doesn't work over here. I've always known this and it's been my biggest struggle since I arrived almost 8 years ago. The seconded I landed in the U.S. it all came back. My husband could hear it when I spoke to him on the phone and I know it made him sad when I came back and instantly lost that main part of me in an instant. It's hard to explain to people who don't live an expat life and more often then not you just keep it all inside because what's the point in talking about it anyway. It is what it is. So I'm dealing with that. I'm dealing with trying to get my groove back with cooking and baking and gardening and taking care of the hens..and to be honest my heart just isn't in it..and it kills me.

So I'm baking bread. Tons of bread. I'm mixing and kneading and forgetting about everything else. I'm concentrating on the dough rising and the shaping and the baking..and then I start all over again with a new loaf. I love hearing the excitement and seeing the smiles on the faces of my husband and sons when they know there is a new bread to try. 

Instead of meditation, I've got breaditation to get me through life's ups and downs. Thank goodness for yeast,flour, and salt!

Triple-Seed Wheat Bread

1-1/2 - 2 cups All-purpose Flour
2 TBS Sugar
1-1/2 tsp. Salt
1-1/2 tsp. Poppy Seed
1-1/2 tsp. Sesame Seed
1 tsp. Fennel Seed ( I used Nigella Seeds)
2-1/4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Water
2 TBS Butter
1-1/2 - 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

Egg Wash; 1 Egg,beaten with 1 TBS Water
1 tsp. Poppy Seed
1 tsp. Sesame Seed
1 tsp. Fennel or Nigella Seeds

In a large mixing bowl or in a bowl of a stand mixer, mix 1-1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour,salt, and seeds.

In a small saucepan,heat the water and butter,over medium heat,stirring frequently,until very warm ( 120 F). Stir into flour mixture and mix until combined ( if using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and mix until combined). Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and enough of the whole wheat flour until a nice smooth dough has been formed. Knead the dough either by hand or with a mixer until the dough is smooth and springy.. about 8 minutes and adding in additional flour as needed ( I used a stand mixer with the dough attachment and only needed 1 cup of the whole wheat flour to bring it all together).

Grease a bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl turning once to coat. Cover and allow dough to rise in a warm spot for one hour, or until doubled in size.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Gently deflate dough and turn out onto a counter top. You can sprinkle it lightly with flour but I found it easier to roll the dough out without using any. Roll the dough into a 20-inch rope. Place it onto the prepared pan. Curl each end of the rope in the opposite direction to form a coiled S shape. Cover and let rise in a warm place 30 to 40 minutes or until almost double.

Preheat oven to 375 or 190 celsius. In a small bow,combine the egg and water and mix until combined. In another small bowl,combine the seeds.

Brush the egg mixture all over the dough and then sprinkle with the seed mixture. 

Bake 20-25 minutes or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from baking sheet and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 Loaf
Source: Betty Crocker The Big Book of Bread