Happy Easter! Homemade Bread

Happy Easter! This Easter Sunday I decided to try my hand at a homemade loaf of bread since bread and Easter naturally go together. My first try with a different recipe didn’t go so well, but my second with the recipe below turned out better than I had hoped! It still amazes me when I put something in the oven and it transforms into something yummy. The wonders of cooking science! We really thought it tasted like something from a fine artisan bakery. This recipe is adapted a little from Bon Appétit magazine. The original can be found at Epicurious.com. It really isn’t that hard to make…Just a little bit time consuming. But really, is there anything quite as inviting as fresh baked bread? 🙂

Sesame and Sunflower Whole Wheat Bread

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 envelope dry yeast

1 1/2 cups skim milk

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 egg (separated)

1/2 cup cracked wheat (also called bulgur wheat) or bran

2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour (approximately)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds (shelled)

2 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons rolled oats

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

(Or whatever other seeds you have on hand that you think might go well on top of the loaf)

Combine 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour and the yeast in a large bowl. Heat milk, honey and sesame oil in a saucepan over medium heat until it feels very warm to the touch, but not too hot to put your finger in. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir in egg yolk, remaining 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour, bulgur wheat or bran (whatever choice you are using), and salt. Mix in enough all-purpose flour a little at a time to form a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface about 10 minutes, adding more all-purpose flour if it is very sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl. Add the dough, turning to coat the entire surface. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm draft-free area until it has doubled in volume. (About 1 3/4 hours).

Grease a cookie sheet. Punch the dough down. Mix in the sunflower seeds and 2 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth. Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Cover and let them rise again in a warm draft-free area until they are almost doubled in size. (About 1 1/4 hours).

Preheat your oven to 375. Beat the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the mixture over the loaves. Sprinkle oats, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, or whatever seeds you choose to use on top.

Bake until the loaves are brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 40 minutes.

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