Seeded Loaf

If there’s one recipe or bake that I always come back to whenever I need a moment of calm or peace in my life then it would be bread. Making your own bread from scratch is such a therapeutic, mindful activity, one that rewards you greatly with its beautiful aroma, flavour & texture that can only come from a well baked, homemade loaf. The whole process itself is incredibly easy once you know how & the more you make it, the more of a feel you’ll get for the dough, a better understanding of what feels right & when, it’s a simple artform that anyone can learn & I’d urge anyone to learn for themselves.

Seeded Loaf

My love of bread has been ingrained in me since childhood, I cannot remember a time where bread wasn’t a staple in my life. In all honesty, my favourite ways to enjoy bread haven’t altered all that much since then, I still consider a sandwich to the ultimate lunch & bread topped with butter & jam is still an absolute treat. One thing that has changed though is my preference now for a heartier, wholemeal variety as opposed to the paler, white bread of my youth. This seeded loaf is everything that I now love in a good loaf of bread, it’s wholesome, rich in flavour & filled with texture. This is my all rounder, the loaf that will be used in sandwiches, toasted & spread with marmalade, dunked into soups or topped with a tin of baked beans!

SEEDED LOAF
(makes one 2lb loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 8g salt
  • 12g dried fast-acting yeast
  • 80g mixed seeds (I use a mix of linseed, poppy, pumpkin & sunflower)
  • 500 – 550ml water

Method:

  • In a large bowl, combine the flours, yeast, salt & mixed seeds
  • Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture & pour in enough of the water to form a dough (you may not need all of the water or may need a little more, start with two-thirds & keep adding more until the dough comes together, adding more if your dough seems a bit dry)
  • Empty the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface & knead for 10 minutes (or 5 minutes if using a stand mixer with a dough hook) until it becomes smooth & elastic when stretched
  • Put the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm or a damp tea towel & leave to rise for about an hour, until it has doubled in size
  • Once your dough has risen, tip it out onto a floured work surface & knock back the dough (knead out any air pockets)
  • Shape the dough into a sausage shape & place into a 2lb (1 kg) loaf tin
  • Cover with a tea towel, or (my preference) place inside a large plastic bag & leave to prove for around 45 minutes – 1 hour, until doubled in size & the dough springs back when gently pressed with a finger
  • Bake the bread at 220C for 35 – 40 minutes until golden brown & the loaf sounds hollow when tapped from underneath
  • Remove from the oven & allow to cool before slicing

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