The experimentation with my new grain mill goes on! Today I spent about a half hour grinding wheat, flax, and oats for a few loaves of “Whole wheat seed bread.” I found the recipe online – not even sure where now. The version I’m going to post is a bit altered, though, because fresh ground grains seem to behave very differently from store-bought ground grains. I’m still not sure why this is. It takes a lot more of my flour than store bought to bring a dough to that nice, shiny, elastic stage of gluteny delight. Maybe mine just has more air in between the individual particles because it hasn’t had time to settle? Who knows.
Whole Wheat Seed Bread
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup applesauce (original recipe said unsweetened, but my homemade worked just fine)
3 Tbsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs, beaten
11 1/2 – 12 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (original said 9… that was waaay too wet)
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup ground oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (I milled half right with the oats/flax)
1 Tbsp sea salt
1. Stir together the 1/2 cup water, applesauce, and yeast. Let stand 5 minutes while mixing other wet ingredients. Combine 3 1/2 cups water, honey, molasses, vegetable oil, lemon juice, and eggs in a large bowl. Whisk together well. Add yeast mixture, mix until combined.
2. In a separate bowl, combine flour, flax, oats, seeds, and salt. Whisk to mix. Stir into the yeast mixture until flour is incorporated. It’s okay if it’s still a bit sticky at this point. Better to add too little flour than too much. Spread flour over your work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Now, this is optional, but I find the flour hydrates better and is easier to work with if you let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes before working it. Knead flour in until dough is elastic and smooth. Form into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl under a damp tea towel in a warm place for 1-3 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size. At this point, you can also refrigerate the dough for rising and shaping at a more convenient time if needed.
3. Lightly grease three 9×5″ loaf pans. You can do four, too, if you ended up using a lot of flour and have way to much for three. Gently push the surface of the dough down. I know, most recipes say “punch” the dough at this point. It’s called punching the dough down, but all you need to do is push your palms down until the hissing stops and then knead it a bit to knock out the rest of the gas pockets. Shape your dough into three or four loaves, then plop them into the waiting pans. Cut slits to make the tops pretty and prevent unsightly cracking. Set the pans in a warm area to rise. I usually set them right in the oven with the light on and a tray of warm water below.
4. Bake the loaves at 375°F for 40-50 minutes, or until they are browned and make a hollow sound when you rap them with your fingernail. Brush with butter, then eject from the hot pan onto a cooling surface. I like using wooden cutting boards or the pizza peel for this. Someday maybe I’ll have a nice wooden counter top for cooling baked goods on.
5. This is the most crucial step, and the hardest one to follow. WAIT! Don’t cut into that gorgeous loaf until it has had a chance to cool for at least a half hour. I know. It’s difficult. But even after a half hour the inside will still be warm enough to melt butter and make honey run.
I think this recipe is here to stay. So far it’s the best. If you think you have one that is worthy of my oven, please let me know in the comments. I love to experiment!