I don't know how many people know, but I dislike baking bread. First of all, it never turns out the way I want it to, and secondly, well, it's really the only reason I have. I always follow the recipe, and yet I end up with a flour brick and it tastes like something I would never eat.
So, I decided that maybe I should write my own recipe, and see if it would work out the way I wanted. Why the hell I waited so long to do this is beyond me. This bread turned out just like I enjoy. Crusty on the outside, and tender on the inside. Not too dense, but not a slice of puffy air.
I was trying to come up with a recipe for no oil bread, so I didn't have to keep spending $7 dollars for store bought. Yes, it takes time, and yes, it does require some effort. BUT, I can make this a couple times a week, and save a bunch. Plus, I know everything that goes into it.
So, lets go to the recipe and steps. It's long and boring, but after you make it one time, you will see that is actually was easy and the end result will make you happy.
Before you start, turn your oven on to the very lowest setting and preheat. When it gets to temp, turn it off and don't open the door. JUST WALK AWAY!
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (set the 1/2 cup aside for later)
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used black)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (optional and you can adjust down)
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
3 1/4 cups water warmed to 108°-110°f (use a instant read thermometer if you have one, otherwise just
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
This is the brand of whole wheat flour I use if you want to know. I got it at Smith's (Kroger)
In a large bowl, combine the two flours, the oats, sunflower and sesame seeds, and the salt. With a whisk, combine well.
In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast, maple syrup, and the molasses. Mix until the yeast is dissolved and the molasses is dissolved into the water. Set aside and let "bloom" for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, add the liquid to your flour mix. Stir with a wooden spoon until you can't, and then get your hands in there and knead. You want to work the dough for 8-10 minutes, until semi smooth. Form into a ball, and flatten the ball.
Now, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and a kitchen towel over that. Place the bowl into your warm oven, and close the door. NOW WALK AWAY, and clean the mess you just made. It needs to rise for 2 hours. (don't complain, I can hear it now. Just do something else around the house. Run errands, its not like you have to babysit it)
After 2 hours, take it out of the oven, and take the covering off.
It should be huge by now, so let out your frustrations and punch that sucker down.
On your counter or work surface, sprinkle out that 1/2 cup of flour, and plop the dough in the middle. Now, once again, lets knead. 10 minutes this time, and then your kneading is done. The dough will be just a little tacky. Now, cut in half and roll each half into a nice ball.
If you want oats on the outside, sprinkle some down and roll the dough in it.
Place both halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment or with a silicone pad.
Slice 3-4 slices on the top (see illustration below)
Now, cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 20-25 minutes. (I placed on top of my oven so it was nice and warm)
While it rests, Place a metal lasagna pan or comparable pan in the oven on the bottom rack and fill half way with water. Turn the oven on to 450° and close the door. Let heat up for 20 minutes, and don't open the door until you are ready to bake.
Uncover the bread, and gently place in the oven, do it fast so all the steam doesn't escape. Close the door and bake for 24 minutes.
After 24 minutes, open the oven and step back, it will be steamy.
Remove the bread and place on a cooling rack.
Avoid the temptation to cut right into it, and let it cool for 30 minutes.
After the bread had cooled, place each one in an air tight container, or a zip top bag. (I used the gallon size)
This recipe gives you two good sized loaves, and that should last you a few days.
Now, cut the bread and schmear it with all the good, healthy stuff.
I hope you give this a try. IT TAKES EFFORT, IT TAKES A LITTLE TIME, but you made it all by yourself and you know all the ingredients. Take time for your health.