Monday, August 29, 2011
Sometimes when life is stressful, hectic and overwhelming I like to go back to simpler things in life like kneading bread dough and making something wholesome and practical, such as this loaf of sandwich bread. The powdery flour beneath my hands as I work the dough into a smooth, silky ball. The sensation grounds me and my efforts are rewarded by a beautiful, perfectly domed loaf of bread. Delicious, soft, amazing.This sunflower-seed studded bread is approx 60% whole wheat. It is very easy to handle and almost all the mixing is done in a stand mixer. Not dense or heavy in the least. With its golden-brown crust and light texture, this bread goes is good anytime but impossible to stay away from when it is fresh from the oven.The recipe is adapted from America's Test Kitchen's HEALTHY Family Cookbook. I own all three in this series (Family Cookbook, Family Baking Book and Healthy Family Cookbook and they are all invaluable sources of reliable recipes for any occasion.Honey Whole Wheat Sunflower Bread1 loaf | adapted from ATK 1 cup warm whole milk (about 110 degrees) 1/3 cup warm water (about 110 degrees) 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 3 tablespoons honey 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons salt 3/4 cup salted sunflower seeds 1. Mix flours and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to 1/4 cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form as mooth, round ball, about 15 seconds. 2. Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes. 3. Roll dough into a rectangle 1" thick. With the long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 x 5" loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover and set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20-30 minutes. 4. While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf read 190 degrees, 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in pan for a few minutes then remove the bread from the pan and cool fully on wire rack.