A very simple bread with bags of flavour, courtesy of slow rises, a selection of seeds and different flours, with a hint of smoky flavour coming through the smoked flour I used. Mind you, if you can’t get hold of smoked flour you can replace it with standard white flour or wholemeal flour, for example.
The lovely flavour of the seeds and the oats punctuate each bite. This bread is particularly wonderful toasted and (liberally) buttered.
The recipe for the dough gives 2 medium loaves or 1 large loaf, although the dough can be shaped in any way you wish: I often go for boules, baguettes and small rolls.
Smoked flour? Really?
As odd as it sounds, smoked flour really works, giving the bread a slightly sweet, smoky flavour. I was given some by a friend recently, but have since smoked my own using oak chippings in a closed barbecue at home and a good quality bread flour.
You don’t need to use too much (if indeed you are using smoked flour at all!): the amount in my recipe below gives enough of a smoky taste, but you can of course vary the proportion of the smoked flour used. After all, experimenting is a huge part of the fun of baking!
Seeds and oats
The seed and oats mixture in the recipe give a lot more than you need for this recipe, but it is worth making up a large amount of it so that you can use it as you need instantly: a handful straight from this added to a dough (whether a bread dough, biscuit dough etc..) gives a great flavour and texture. It is also great just sprinkled onto a bread dough prior to baking for a great topping.
To maximise the flavour
I use less yeast than many recipes give, purely because of the slow rise in the fridge once the dough has been kneaded: to be honest, you can get away with even less yeast if you want it to rise even more slowly: I made a batch using 1g of dried yeast and let the pre-shaped dough rise in the fridge for almost 2 days: great flavour!
Recipe: multi-grain bread – makes 2 medium loaves
- 130g mixture of any one or more of: poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds, pumpkin seeds:
- 300g strong white flour
- 150g smoked strong plain (or other) flour
- 150g strong wholemeal flour (or a mixture of wholemeal, rye, spelt…)
- 13g fine sea salt
- 5g dried easy-blend yeast
- 1 tablespoon black treacle
- 30g unsalted butter, melted, or extra-virgin olive oil
- 350-400ml cold water
To finish (optional):
- a few poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
- a little beaten egg
(1) Mix the flours, salt, yeast and seeds into a bowl. Stir in the butter, black treacle and most of the water, bringing it together to give a soft dough, adding more water if necessary so that all flour is absorbed into the dough.
(2) Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 15-20 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, so that when you pull the dough it pulls itself back again.
(3) Put the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill for several hours or overnight until doubled in size. TOP TIP: Don’t think about rushing this stage! While a rise in a warm place and with more yeast will be much quicker, you will not get anything like the depth of flavour you get with a slower rise.
(5) Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into rolls or loaves: there is enough dough for 2 medium loaves or boules, or several rolls/mini baguettes etc….If making loaves, oil the loaf tins and place the dough in. Place rolls, baguettes and other shapes onto baking trays. I usually line them with greaseproof but they need not be. For rolls, cut the dough into about 40g portions and roll into a ball on a non-floured surface with the palm of your hand (not using flour ensures the dough sticks just enough to form the ball, whereas adding flour gives the dough nothing to grip onto and it will slide everywhere).
(6) Cover loosely with clingfilm or place in a large bag (a bin liner is great here!) and leave rise at room temperature until about double in size. You can brush with beaten egg and sprinkle over a few more poppy seeds if preferred before baking. If you want to sprinkle with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, do this just before they have finished baking as they have a tendency to burst.
(7) Bake in an oven pre-heated to 220C(fan) for 10-15 minutes for rolls or 30-40 minutes for loaves. About 5 minutes before they look ready, brush with the egg and sprinkle over the pumpkin/sunflower seeds, if using. Bake for a further 5 minutes or so before transferring to a wire rack to cool.