There’s nothing more gratifying than having a friend slathering a hot slice of bread — bread you made with your own two hands — with blueberry preserves. I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face, but I love baking because in a world that is so digital, so virtual, this is one of the few tactile hobbies left. Baking forces discipline, and the best loaves of bread are usually made with a few ounces of strength and sweat while you knead on a sweltering May day.
Yesterday I was determine to make a slew of recipes that mixed the virtuous and the comforting. From my truffle kale macaroni and cheese (so soothing!) to this hearty grain loaf, my oven operated in overdrive. You will love this loaf not only because it’s healthy, but the bread is chewy, yielding, perfect for warm almond butter, creamy Irish butter or chilled blueberry preserves. My friend and I stood in my kitchen slicing bread and eating, eating, eating, and it was wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful.
INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Pastry Affair, with slight modifications. Happy Blogging Anniversary!
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons blueberry flax seed
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoons salt
12 ounces barely warm water
Sunflower seeds, flax seed, and oats, for garnish
In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the flours, oats, seeds, yeast, and salt. Gradually add the water and mix until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry and will not come together, add small amounts of water until it does. Conversely, if the dough is too sticky, add flour until it becomes workable. Knead the dough for ten minutes, or until elastic. If you have a stand mixer with a dough attachment, you only need to knead this in the mixer for 5-6 minutes, until the dough becomes springy and elastic.
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Punch down the dough and allow it to set for another 10 minutes before turning out the dough onto a clean surface. Shape the dough into a log or cylinder, trying to keep the dough an even thickness. Place the dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan sprinkle with sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and oats. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for another 30-40 minutes, or until it doubles in volume.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to cool down before slicing.