Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bread Alert: Poppy Almost Wheat

I needed to bake. It had been too long. We actually BOUGHT a loaf of bread last week. How wrong is that? So I finally set up a sponge in the evening, knowing that my hatred of wasting food would overcome my growing slothness. (Slothiness? Slothliness? Slothistry?).

No photos, and I'm blogging from memory this time as the loaves are a couple days old. Worse, I didn't even measure some of the ingredients. Just threw 'em in willy-nilly.

Sponge:
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c whole wheat Flour
  • 1 c Water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Mix:
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/8 cup poppy seeds (?)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt (see Notes)
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 cups bread flour

Glaze:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • poppy seeds

Combine the sponge ingredients and let sit in a warm spot overnight.

Toast the almonds in the toaster oven to bring out the flavor, watching closely to make sure they don't burn. Remove and let cool until they are no longer too hot to touch. Add nuts and poppy seeds to the sponge and stir. Add salt and wheat germ, then water and olive oil and mix to form a batter. Slowly add whole wheat flour until the dough is kneadable, then transfer onto a floured work surface. Knead for 10 minutes, using the bread flour as needed to control the stickiness.

Oil a bowl, plop the kneaded dough in and give it a twirl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 1 hour.

Oil a pair of loaf pans. Punch down the bread and shape into two loaves. Press into the prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled again, 45 minutes.

20 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350.

Beat an egg with one tablespoon of water. Using a basting brush, lightly coat the top of the loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Notes:
  • I FORGOT THE SALT! This led to the bread rising quite quickly. Desperate, and willing to experiment, I took our salt shaker and shook some onto the dough after the first rising, then kneaded it in. In all I probably only added 1/2-1 tsp of salt. This was not enough, hence the recommendation to add 1 tbsp at the correct time.
  • Maybe due to the humid, rainy weather (or the lack of salt?), this loaf started to show signs of mold after only two days on the counter. I cut off the suspect bits and threw the loaves in the fridge. Not my favorite solution but we don't have any better at the moment.
  • This loaf deserves a second try. We actually have been shaking salt onto the bread before adding other ingredients, as it's a bit bland. But the flavors/textures of the poppy seeds and almonds are quite good.

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