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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


It's been kind of an overcast day this Sunday afternoon and it got me to feelin' like baking - but I didn't want any more sweets in the house for a while.  I went overboard last week!  I stood out on the deck for a bit and there was a nice breeze, 76 degrees, so I leaned against the rail and stared out over the bay, listening to children play...and thinkin'.  I loved that the little girl had on pink boxing gloves and the little boy was dressed as Indiana Jones.  They were busily pretending "something" and then they joyfully threw themselves on the ground spread eagle, and watched the sea gulls flying over head.  It was a lovely bit of relaxation and renewal - I love watching happy kids playing.  While I was standing there I decided I wanted to make some homemade bread to go with our dinner.  It was 3:00 in the afternoon which meant I had barely enough time for rising and I scooted back in and surfed the Internet for a bit...didn't find just what I was looking for...but did see an Emeril recipe that looked good...then I grabbed a cookbook and started flipping through.  I finally landed on enough data that I could tweak the recipe to work with what I had available in my pantry.  It's going to be free-form, rustic, and have sesame seeds on it...and I'm going to use some Wheaties cereal to give it some "umph".  Fingers crossed - here we go!

Adapted from "Bob's Red Mill Baking Book" and Emeril Lagasse


1/2 cup Wheaties cereal - lightly crush to measure
2 cups boiling water
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons unhulled sesame seeds
2 cups water for baking pan
Spray mist bottle with water
Ingredients are ready


Place 1/2 cup cereal in bowl of stand mixer.
Add 2 cups boiling water to cereal and stir.  Place candy thermometer in with it.
Wheaties soaking in boiling water

When temperature drops to between 105 and 115 degrees (about 15-20 minutes) sprinkle the yeast over the water and cereal mixture, stir with wooden spoon until dissolved.
Let stand until the yeast begins to foam (about 5 minutes).
Yeast proved beautifully - if not foaming rapidly enough - sprinkle the brown sugar in to feed it

Add 1 cup of the white flour, the olive oil, brown sugar, and salt and stir until mostly smooth.  
Hand mix the first cup of flour and the oil, sugar, and salt

Place the bowl on the stand mixer with the dough hook engaged.  Begin adding the remaining cup and a half of white flour and the cup and a half of wheat flour in alternating 1/2 cup increments, until dough pulls all the way together - scrape down the sides if needed.  Turn the mixer off and cover bowl with cloth and allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.
Very sticky dough at first resting

Either turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes, adding more flour if necessary...or turn the stand mixer back on and allow the dough hook to knead the dough for 10 minutes...add sprinkles of flour until the dough is smooth and elastic.  I used the white flour for sprinkling. It took almost a half cup of extra flour to get all the dough pulled up onto the hook. 
After 9 minutes on the dough hook and an extra amount of flour it all came together

I took the dough off the hook about 1 minute before the timer was going to go off and finished kneading it by hand on the counter with some bench flour...made it nice and smooth and elastic - just what I was looking for.
An additional minute of hand kneading provided a perfect ball of dough

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough inside, turning it over in the oil. 
Turn into oiled bowl - I used EVOO - cover and set to rise in warm place

Cover it with a dish cloth and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
One hour later - doubled in size

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. 
Punch down this very dense dough before the final kneading

Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then shape into a 12 x 4 inch loaf.  Sprinkle a baking sheet with half of the seed mixture and place the loaf on top of the seeds (obviously don't spread them all over...just in the area where you are going to put the dough).  None of the recipes said to prepare the pan - and my bread did stick on one side...just a bit... and I was able to push a metal spatula between the bread and the pan to release it and caused no damage to the bread.  Just a heads up.
Formed a generous loaf on top of 2 tsp of sesame seeds

Cover the dough with the dish cloth and let it rise again until almost doubled (30-45 minutes).

Set one of your oven racks in the center position and one rack the level below.
Place a 9x13 baking pan on the lower rack (empty) and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray the dough with a spritz of water and sprinkle the remaining seeds over the surface.  Use a sharp knife to cut slashes (about 6) across the top of the loaf.
Risen, sliced, spritzed, and sesame seeds applied to top and sides

Add the water for the baking pan right before you put the bread into the will sizzle and steam.
Bake the loaf about 25 to 35 minutes.  Should sound hollow when tapped with the bowl of a wooden spoon.  Or, insert a tester into the center until it comes out clean.  Be extremely cautious when opening the oven - steam poured out and I had my face right down there and had to jump back to avoid being burned.  It was Hades hot!  My loaf was done in about 30 minutes.
What a beauty!  And nothing smells better than bread baking with toasty sesame seeds!

Remove from oven and transfer loaf to a cooling rack.  This bread has a rustic, crisp crust, which turns to chewy after cooling, with a dense earthy crumb.  It's deliciously wholesome!
Slice, slather with butter and honey if feeling decadent, and enjoy!

Really delicious rustic loaf

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!StumbleUpon

1 comment:

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