I love toast and this bread is, in my humble opinion, the best bread for toast-making.
Lately I've really been into baking free-form loaves, the kind that get crusty all around the exterior and develop all sorts of irregular holes in the chewy interior. In fact, most of the experts say there's no longer a place for pan loaves. I must disagree. When it comes to classic sandwiches (BLT, anyone?) and buttered toast, nothing beats a pan loaf.
Enter this recipe. We're fortunate around here to have a couple of great artisan bakeries in the area that make something similar, but let's face it: artisan bread is expensive, man. And as delicious as it is, it still can't beat homemade.
I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's, swapping out one of its many grains and adding some seeds. The result is an intensely flavorful loaf, its whole grain flours perfectly balanced by white, creating a soft crumb studded with chewy texture and crusted with seeds.
All of the mixing and kneading can be done in a mixer, though it can definitely be done by hand, as well. It's just as easy to make two loaves as one, which I highly advise since this bread freezes quite well and you'll be sad when one loaf is gone in a couple of days. I should also recommend having a pint-sized helper on hand to butter your pans.
I think you, too, will love the deep flavors of the rye and wheat flours, the nuttiness of the interesting grains, and the way the seeds crisp in the toaster. If you have a few hours at home, give this recipe a try; the hands-on time really isn't much and your house will smell good enough to eat.
Many Grain and Seed Bread
adapted from Martha Bakes
makes 1 loaf
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons warm water, divided
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey, divided
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup rye flour
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup cooked wheat berries
- 1/2 cup cooked freekeh
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon rolled oats, divided
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons flaxseeds, divided
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, divided
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, divided
- 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds
- 1 large egg white
Combine the yeast, 1/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon honey in a glass measuring cup and stir to combine. Allow to sit until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, use 1 Tablespoon of the butter to grease a large bowl and a 1.5 quart loaf pan. Place the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter, remaining 3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons water, and remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast.
In a separate bowl, stir together all three flours and the salt. Add 1 1/2 cups flour mixture to the bowl with the yeast and mix on low speed with the dough hook or by hand with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add remaining flour while mixing, one cup at a time. Next add the cooled wheat berries, freekeh, 1/4 cup oats, 1/4 cup flaxseeds, and 3 Tablespoons sunflower seeds. Continue mixing until dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a shaggy ball. If mixing by hand, transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes or until smooth and glossy. If mixing in a stand mixer, knead with the dough hook on medium-low speed for 8-10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to the buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a draft-free place for about an hour or until doubled. Meanwhile, sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the sesame seeds into the buttered loaf pan, covering the bottom and sides.
Punch down the dough and shape into a square about 7" in diameter. Roll the square into a log and pinch the seam closed. Place the log of dough into the prepared loaf pan, seam-side down. Beat the egg white and mix with 1/2 teaspoon of water. Brush the top of the loaf with the egg wash. Combine the remaining 1 Tablespoon oats, 2 teaspoons flaxseeds, 1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds, 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, and 1 Tablespoon black sesame seeds. Sprinkle the seed mixture all over the loaf. Brush a piece of plastic wrap with oil and place, oil-side down, loosely on top of the loaf. Allow the loaf to rise in a draft-free place for about 45 minutes, or until the loaf has risen an inch above the brim of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 450. Uncover the loaf and transfer to the oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 400 and bake the loaf for about 45 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the internal temperature reaches 205 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Turn the loaf out of the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Do not slice until bread has cooled entirely.
Eat the bread within two or three days if you don't plan to freeze it. Slice off what you need, then store the remaining part of the loaf cut-side down on a cutting board. If you do plan to freeze the bread, I find it's best to slice the whole loaf and store it in a freezer bag. That way you can remove and toast individual slices.