Sunday, July 10, 2011

Heavy with seed

Based on a recipe by Dan Lepard in yesterday's Guardian magazine, I set out to create a heavy seedy bread.

The seeds
As well as pumpkin and sunflower seeds, Lepard uses linseeds, but I didn't have any of those. He also uses 100g of each, which strikes me as madness, so I used:
40 g pumpkin seeds
40 g sunflower seeds
20 g sesame seeds
10 g poppy seeds

His brilliant suggestion is to toast the seeds. He used an oven; I used a dry frying pan in batches, until the seeds were slightly browned.


Meanwhile I was activating 4g of dried yeast in 250g of water with a tiny pinch of sugar. These days I mix any malt flour in with this water - it tends to clump in the bag, and this ensures the clumps are dispersed. I used 10g of red malt flour and 2g of diax. Lepard uses 2 teaspoons of fast-action yeast. I kind of thought this dough will need a long rising to develop useful amounts of gluten, so stuck with my normal practice.

Lepard uses 250g rye flour out of a total of 400g, and only 75g strong white. No way, matey!

150g strong white flour
80g strong wholemeal wheat flour
160g wholemeal rye flour
4g salt

All this mixed up and left to autolyse for about half an hour. I then attempted to knead it, but it was too dry and there was too little gluten. It tasted really nice though. I decided to leave it overnight in the fridge. It would at least make lovely duck food.

Today, it still looked a bit horrible so I added some water and made a more successful attempt at kneading. Then let it rise at room temperature, and the yeast had obviously begun to stretch the gluten. After about four hours, it looked like proper dough. I kneaded it fairly lighly and put it into a tin (lined with baking parchment - I'm not sure that was necessary). It came up to about 1cm below the top of the tin.

Within two hours it had risen to about 1cm above the tin, and I guessed it was ready to go.

Into the oven - my new combination microwave oven, which is clearly more efficient than the built-in one - at 200C for 10 minutes, then 180C for 30, out of the tin for the last five.
Here it is. I can't imagine what it would be like with 300g of seeds in it, or with 250g of heavy rye flour. But this is surprisingly firm - I mean it doesn't fall apart - and obviously tasty.

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