Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cracked Pepper-Seed Bread

I almost feel like a proud parent today, as my first ever attempt at baking a loaf of bread worked!!

I made some focaccia bread the other week, which was good, but never have I attempted to bake a true loaf of bread from scratch. I have had a couple of yeast disasters in the last few weeks, so I was a little nervous, but I am pleased to say that the resulting bread looked exactly like the picture in the May edition of Cooking Light and it was delicious to boot.

You could really taste the honey when you bite into it, but are left with a peppery, but not overpowering, aftertaste. The crust is slightly crunchy and the inside lovely and soft. I really love seedy breads, so I am pleased as punch with this one.

Cracked Pepper-Seed Bread
(Approx. 8 servings per loaf, 2 loaves)

1 package of dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110F)
1/4 cup honey
1 tbs canola oil
1 1/2 tsp salt, divided
5 1/4 cup bread flour, divided
1/2 cup wheat bran
5 tbs sunflower seed kernels, divided
5 tbs sesame seeds, divided
2 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper, divided
2 1/4 tsp cracked green pepper, divided
cooking spray
1 egg, beaten

1. Dissolve yeast in 2 cups of warm water in a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add honey, oil and 1/2 tsp of salt, stirring with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups, leveling with a knife. Add 3 cups of flour and bran to yeast mixture, stirring until combined. Cover and let stand in a warm place free from drafts, 1 hour or until small bubbles appear on the surface.

2. Add remaining 1 tsp of salt, 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1 1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper and 1 1/2 tsp of green cracked pepper; stir until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tbs at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky). Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from draughts, for 45min or until dough is doubled in size.

3. Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough. Punch down dough, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Divide dough in ha;f. Place each half in an 8x4 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.

4. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Brush loaves with egg and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tbs of sunflower seeds, 1 tbs sesame seeds, 3/4 tbs black pepper and 3/4 tbs of green pepper. Bake at 400F for 35 minutes or until loaves are browned on the bottom and sound hollow when tapped.

5. Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire racks.

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