Friday, February 22, 2013

Honey Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread

Winter weather warnings today found me hunkered down at home grading papers and baking.   It's nice to take a break from grading to punch down a dough and form it into a loaf.  This recipe is adapted from a February/March 2010 Taste of Home magazine. It's remarkably tender given that it uses almost 100% whole wheat flour.  It also has a nice, nutty taste that is enhanced when it's toasted.  The original recipe makes three loaves, way too much for our little family!  I did my best to halve the recipe and am pretty happy with the results, but note that the amounts are approximate!  

Honey Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread
1 1/2 cups hot (not boiling) water
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 package (1/4 oz) rapid rise active dry yeast
1/8 cup bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 - 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 or 2 teaspoons butter

Stir the oil and honey into the hot water to dissolve the honey.  In the bowl of a mixer, whisk the yeast, bread flour, 2 cups of wheat flour and salt.  With the mixer running, add the water/honey mixture and mix until well combined. (You might need to stop the mixture and stir it by hand to be sure all of the flour is incorporated.) Using the dough hook of the mixer, turn the mixer on again and begin beating the dough, adding up to another cup of flour until the dough pulls away from the sides and becomes elastic.  Knead the dough for at least five minutes, adding more flour to prevent it from sticking it to the sides--but add as little as possible. Add the sunflower seeds and either knead a few minutes more in the mixer or by hand.  Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a draft-free spot  for about an hour.  (I heat 2 cups of water to boiling in the microwave and then put the dough in the microwave with the hot water for the rise.)  After the dough doubles in bulk, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and form into a loaf.  Place in an oiled loaf pan (5x8) and let it rise again--about 30 to 45 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Once the dough has again doubled in bulk, put it into the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, until well-browned.  Remove from the oven and rub the top with butter while it's still very hot.  Take it out of the pan and let the bread cool until it's warm to the touch before slicing and serving.  Enjoy!

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