Sometimes I forget how easy it is to make bread, and how simple. It’s useful to have a little knowledge about the science of bread and how all the ingredients work together to make face filling super sandwich times. But essentially it’s practice and getting to know the texture of the dough. I’ve been making white bread and simple brown bread for a couple years now, so I think it’s time to step up my game. We should start mixing things up a little, adding bits here and there, and using new ingredients. I’m doing this for you lovely people out there who are reading this, it’s winter and there are probably many evenings being spent in front of the tele, trawling through netflix when you could be working out those triceps and surprising your loved one/flatmate/brother/sister/ma & pa/dog/cat with a good rustic loaf of bread. Heck, they’re so easy to make and so dang tasty you could give out these charming loaves for christmas, who wouldn’t prefer home made bread to yet another shampoo/shower gel combo? (and for much less money!)
I’ve made croutons, jam on toast, toast with poached eggs, beans on toast, toast with marmite, even the classic crisp sandwich with this bread this week and it’s kept it’s chewy, crunchy crust with that soft, fluffy texture inside. The flavours of the sesame and poppy seed really comes through strong and the crunch of the sunflower and pumpkin gives it something extra. Plus I made it with my bare hands, and that always adds a little charm.
It’s totally worth it so…shall we?
Makes 1, very large cob loaf
- 450g strong white bread flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fast action dried yeast
- 1 tbsp each of poppy, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- about 300ml hand hot water
Combine the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, making sure the salt and yeast are put on opposite sides of the bowl. When mixed add all of the seeds. Make a well and pour in the hand hot water and the oil. Mix until you can gather together the dough in your hands to form a ball. Turn out onto a surface and work the dough by stretching and folding, do this for about ten minutes until the dough is smooth and has lost it’s craggy texture. You should also be able to stretch the dough out without it breaking apart with ease. Form back into a dough then leave to prove in a cling film covered bowl until doubled in size.
Depending on the temperature of the room you keep it in, this could take between 1-4 hours. Be patient.
When proven take out the bowl and knock back for about a minute or two, this is just to knock out the big air bubbles.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Shape the dough into a round shape, and make two incisions on top so, like a cross so it has more area space to grow. Brush the top of the dough with milk and sprinkle over the pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Cover and leave to prove again until doubled.
Preheat the oven to 200C/220C. Do this about fifteen minutes before you think the bread will be ready. Stick in the oven and leave to bake for about 20 minutes until the crust has a deep brown colour and when the loaf feels hollow inside when tapped. Leave on a wired rack to cool.