It’s about a million degrees outside with a bazillion percent humidity. Perfect weather for baking bread.
Weather like this really is perfect for bread-baking. The heat and humidity make for Mother Nature’s Perfect Proofing Box.
It’s about the only positive thing I can think of about the weather. I’m a west coast wuss when it comes to humidity and heat. I just don’t like it. And I hate living in air conditioning ::he says with the air blowing like there’s no tomorrow:: I seem to hate the heat more.
I remember all those summers I spent in Bakersfield with my grandparents. We’d be outside playing in 100+° weather and the only cooling at grandma and grandpa’s was an old swamp cooler in the living room. When it got up past 110° we’d head inside for Kool-aid or head out to Center Street Market for an ice-cold Coke if we had any money. It’s amazing how a mere 55 years can change one’s outlook. I’d die, today.
No Kool-aid and no Coke in the house nowadays, so it became time to bake bread.
The bread-baking happened because I saw fresh yeast at the grocery store this morning. Impulse-buy of the day. The recipe is a take-off of a Bob’s Red Mill recipe. I changed things around to suit my own needs, but the basic recipe is sound.
And really really good. It’s an easy one to pull together, so go for it.
Multi-Grain Seeded Bread
- 1/2 cup Grape-Nuts-type cereal
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 4 1/2 tsp fresh)
- 2 1/2 – 3 cups unbleached white flour
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp poppy and sesame seeds, mixed
Place the cereal in a large bowl, and pour the boiling water on top. Stir, and let it stand until the cereal and water cools to about 105°.
Sprinkle the yeast over the cereal and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until the yeast begins to foam, about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the unbleached white flour to the cereal, along with the oil, sugar, and salt, and stir until smooth. Mix remaining flours and slowliy add. You may or may not need the remaining 1/2 cup. Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about ten minutes, adding more flour if it’s sticky.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough inside, turning it over in the oil, and cover with the dishtowel. Let the dough rise until it’s doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then shape into a 12 x 4-inch loaf. Sprinkle a baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of the seed mixture and place the loaf on top of the seeds. Cover the dough with the dishtowel and let it rise until almost doubled, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Set one of the oven racks in the center of the oven and one just below the center. Place a baking pan on the lower rack and preheat the oven to 425°. Brush the dough with a little water and sprinkle with the remaining seed mixture. Using a sharp knife, cut 3 slashes across the top of the loaf. Place the baking sheet with the loaf in the oven and immediately pour 2 cups of water into the hot pan on the lower rack in the oven (water will steam).
Bake the loaf about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.
It had a beautifully-light crumb and a nice, crusty crust. Definitely one of my better loaves…
Slather it with butter. And forget about the heat.