Home-baked bread speaks to us of the warmth of the hearth and home. It conjures up bustling kitchens, flour-dusted work counters, large bowls covered with dishtowels, ovens yearning for bread pans filled with plum, yielding dough. The baked bread, which permeates the house with its indescribable aroma, is beautifully browned, its crust crisp or softly elastic. There it sits, cooling on a wire rack, waiting for the time to be right to slice it and spread it with pale creamery butter and maybe a spoonful of the apple butter.
Note: Store breads in a cool, dry place, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap or enclosed in a plastic bag. Storing breads in refrigerator will retard molding, but the bread will become stale. Tightly-wrapped bread will keep in the freezer up to three months.
Makes: 2 loaves
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 cup your favorite seeds (I used a combination of quinoa, amaranth seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds)
- 2 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F)
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting and shaping
- 1 1/4 cup rye flour (I used Bob's Red Mill - Organic Dark Rye Flour)
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seeds and cook 5 minutes, stirring often until toasted. Remove from heat and cool completely.
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over warm water. Stir and set aside, for about 5 minutes.
Stir together yeast mixture, flours, toasted seeds and salt. With a mixer on low speed, beat just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be little sticky. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm place, away from drafts, until it is double in size, 1-2 hours.
Punch down the dough and cut it in half. Lightly dust a baking tray with flour and shape dough on a tray into round loaves. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and let it rise again until it is double in size, about 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 450F. Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Dust top of loaf with flour. Using a serrated knife, lightly score top of bread three times. Place the baking tray in a oven. Pour 1 cup hot water into the broiler pan and quickly close oven door.
Bake the bread 30 minutes, until it sounds hollow when tapped on a bottom. Remove it from the pan and cool on a wire rack.