Tanja's sunflower & pumpkin seed wholemeal bread
[Down to the last morsel]
As I butter the last piece of homemade bread that my friend Tanja baked for me, I pondered upon the possibilities of the aroma of freshly baked bread coming out of my own oven. I think what really appeals to me about making your own bread is knowing what goes in the ingredients. As a German living in Singapore, I bet what drove Tanja into making her own breads is the lack of hearty country loafs available. The local palate ranges from the fluffy to the chewy, more like a brioche than a bread.
Cookies, brownies, sweetbreads, all the baked goods not requiring proper machinery, I've been able to churn out with ease. But there's a whole lot of dog-eared pages in my recipe books that are classified for a later time when I've got more kitchen space for that bright red heavy-duty KitchenAid cake mixer... and now I'm toying with the idea of a bread machine.
It ain't gonna be an easy task, selecting the perfect bread machine. So far the ones I've seen on the market are pretty much aesthetically challenged. Armed with the curiosity of how bread machines actually work, I scoured the Net and found a fact sheet titled "Selecting a Bread Machine." How wild is that? There are also loads of discussions and forums on the Net about hand-kneading versus using the bread machine. I suppose there's no fool-proof way. Both methods require lots of trials to perfect the recipe.
For Weekend Herb Blogging, which I'm hosting this week, I thought it would be fun to feature Tanja's own adapted recipe. She's kind enough to sit down and transcribe it for me. I had thought about sending the recipe to my mum who is an avid baker and bakes her own bread as well. This recipe is really precious since it's the labored result of all of Tanja's trials and errors. THANK YOU TANJA!! For those who are gonna really try it out, I hope you get to taste the same wholesome goodness as this last piece I'm savoring.
Wholesome Bread a la Tanja
200gm plain flour
150gm wholemeal flour
1 packet dry yeast (about 1 tbsp)
1.5 tbsp fresh lemon juice or rice vinegar
30gm wheat grain
30gm barley grain (or any other preferred grain)
40gm sunflower seeds
40gm pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
Cook potato in about 300ml of boiling water in a saucepan. Add wheat and barley into the boiling water to soften them, half way through before potato is done. Drain and place cooked ingredients plus 250ml of the cooking water into a food processor or blender. Give it a few pulses until it becomes a mushy consistence. Add salt and sugar and let it cool down a little.
Mix both the plain and wholemeal flour and the yeast together and build a mountain with a hollow in the middle. Add the processed mushy grain fluid into the hollow, followed with butter and lemon juice (or vinegar).
Mix it all together and form a dough. The longer you knead the dough, the better it will rise, so keep kneading. Place moist and clean dish towel over dough and let it rest and rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, roast seeds in a dry Teflon pan (do not add any fats). Stir them every now and then and watch them carefully to prevent scorching. Let them cool, while waiting the dough to rise.
Knead dough again, add more flour when needed and add the roasted seeds. Knead carefully and leave it to rest again for an additional 30 to 45 minutes.
Now more kneading to be done; add some flour when needed and knead until you have a dough firm enough to form your desired loaf shape. Leave it on an oven-tray letting it rest and rise for another 10 minutes. Bake in preheated oven (180ºC) for 50 to 60 minutes.
Tip: You can place a cup of water into the oven; the water vapor will give your loaf a crispy crust.