This is our new favourite bread. It is healthy and satisfying, and it is a great multipurpose bread. It is absolutely delicious when first removed from the oven, makes wonderful toast, fabulous sandwiches, and is very tasty when served alongside a lovely homemade soup.
This beautiful boule follows Jim Lahey’s no knead bread method, but is slightly more involved; both time-wise and ingredient-wise.
Let me tell you, though, it is beyond worth the extra effort.
Not only is it significantly healthier than its all-white-flour counterparts, it is absolutely stunning with its seeded top and pretty, circle-y, design.
Yes, my friend, you’re gorgeous.
Don’t let yourself be thrown off by the long list of ingredients, nor the seemingly extensive directions; it is really very simple once you get the hang of it. This is the only bread that I have been making of late.
- 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice, preferably brown basmati
- 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
- 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp wheat germ
- 1/4 cup chopped natural hazelnuts, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped natural walnuts, divided
- 3 Tbsp ground flaxseeds, divided
- 3 Tbsp poppy seeds, divided
- 3 Tbsp sesame seeds, divided
- 2 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1 1/4 tsp instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 2 1/2 cups water, plus more as needed
- 1 beaten egg, for glazing
1. Mix dough: Grind rice in a blender or coffee mill (a food processor won’t work) until mostly powdery but with some fine bits remaining. Transfer to a large bowl. Thoroughly stir in 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, 2 cups bread flour, oats, wheat germ, 3 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts, 3 Tbsp chopped walnuts, 2 Tbsp flaxseeds, 2 Tbsp poppy seeds, 2 Tbsp sesame seeds, the salt and yeast. Drizzle honey on top of the dry ingredients and pour in the water. Using a wooden spoon, stir everything until combined. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. (The seeds will absorb moisture, stiffening the dough as it stands.) If the mixture is too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t overmoisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough all purpose flour to stiffen slightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
2. First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours.
3. Second rise: Generously coat a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven with oil (I only have smaller (3-quart) cast iron pots, so I divide my dough and bake it in two pots). Coat the bottom and sides with 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour. Stir the dough to deflate it. If it is soft, stir in just enough flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pot.
4. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour over the dough; pat and smooth it in. Firmly tuck the sides underneath all the way around to form a round ball of dough; dust with more flour as needed. Brush the loaf with the beaten egg and sprinkle the remaining nuts and seeds (1 Tbsp each hazelnuts and walnuts and 1 Tbsp each flaxseeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds over the top (it will be heavily coated). Using a sharp knife, cut three 1/2-inch-deep concentric circles in the top of the loaf, one about 1 1/2 inches our from the center, one 2 1/2 inches out, and the last 3 1/2 inches out. Put the lid on the pot or tightly cover with foil.
5. Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 hours.
6. 20 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 475°F.
7. Bake, cool, slice: Reduce oven temperature to 450°. Bake, covered, on the lower rack until the top is lightly browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206°), 15 to 25 minutes longer. For my two half loaves, I bake them for 45 minutes with the lid on and then another 5-10 minutes with the lids removed; checking the temperature with a thermometer to ensure that they have cooked through. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm before slicing.
Serve this bread with some cute little cheese cut-outs for a really fun time.