The process of making bread from scratch involves a lot of resistance from people. Hands up if the thought of baking bread scares you? I found the process very intimidating too till I tried my hand at it.
Watching the yeast bubble in warm water, feeling the dough start to change structure in your hands as you knead it and the fresh, toasty smell of bread filling your kitchen as it bakes - all of this makes it worth a try and the result is very rewarding. All you have to do is to keep faith in yourself and your Chef-instincts, arrange for the right ingredients and be patient with your bread!
This bread has been adapted from The Break Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart, who is the God of bread baking. I've taken inspiration and tried multiple recipes from this book and this is one of my all time favorites because it tastes heavenly and is a very healthy alternative full of fiber. Although the recipe asks for all purpose flour, I was able to adapt it easily to incorporate whole wheat flour and increase the hydration to get a fantastic moist and airy crumb structure.
However, this is a bit of a project and needs a basic understanding of bread baking. I recommend that you try this if you already have some experience baking breads and are familiar with the basics. If you are a beginner, try the Garlic and Basil Buns or the Pull - apart Cinnamon Rolls.
This recipe also requires preparation a day in advance but like I said above, it is worth the wait and makes the yummiest toasts and sandwiches.
More Breads and Sandwiches:
- Lemon Zucchini Bread
- The Best Pizza Bread
- French Bread Pizza Toasts
- Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich
- Brown Butter Banana Bread
Soaker (To be made a day in advance)
- 3 tablespoons Cornmeal Coarse
- 3 tablespoons Oats
- 2 tablespoons Oat bran
- ¼ cup Water , at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups Wholewheat
- 1 tablespoon Gluten
- 3 tablespoons Sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons Honey
- ½ cup Milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Oil for brushing
- Make the soaker by combining the ingredients a day or at least 10 hours before making the bread. The water will just about hydrate the ingredients. Cover the bowl and leave it at room temperature.
- To make the dough, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl. If using a stand mixer, mix on low speed using a paddle attachment. However, I prefer to combine by hand.
- The dough will be wet and sticky, but this hydration makes for a better crumb structure. Knead by hand for 10-12 minutes and you will notice the dough changing structure to become smoother and less sticky.
- Brush a bowl with oil, and leave the dough, covered by cling film, to rise till it doubles in size. This may take between 1 to 1 ½ hour.
- Once the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and form it into a loaf or any freestanding shape. While shaping, the dough would deflate. Place the loaf shaped dough into a 9 by 5 inch lightly oiled loaf tin. If making a freestanding shape, place it on a lightly oiled baking tray. Brush lightly with water and sprinkle mixed seeds on it.Use mixed seeds such as pumpkin, melon, sesame and flax for sprinkling.
- Cover the dough lightly with a moist cloth. Let the dough rise again at room temperature for 60 minutes or until it almost doubles in size.
- Bake in a 175 degree celcius pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes.
- Remove the loaf immediately from pan after baking and cool on a wire rack. To check for doneness, tap the bottom of the loaf and it should sound hollow.
- Serve once cooled. This is an important step because the dough continues to cook till it cools down completely.