Monday, November 12, 2012

Crusty Seeded French Bread Recipe

This is a really nice bread, studded with lots of seeds for flavour and nutrition! This recipe will yield fairly dense loaves, but feel free to play with the fife wheat to white flour ratio. If you are new to baking with whole grain flour, I would suggest doing half/half fife wheat and white flour.

A note on white flour! I like my bread on the denser side, just like the way it used to be. Many people are not used to this though, so it might be best to slowly transition yourself into using less and less white flour until you become used to heavier bread. That being said, my favorite option for white flour is something called Soft White Wheat. It is a type of grain that when ground produces a white flour. The beautiful thing is that it is ground from the whole grain, so it has all the nutritional benefits of whole grain flour but is a very light flour. Actually, you know that all-purpose flour you buy at the grocery store? Back in the day it actually literally used to be a blend of soft white and hard red  flour (for example, the Red Fife is a hard red wheat). If you can't get soft white flour, try to get organic, unbleached all-purpose flour. Unfortunately, even though this kind of flour will be organic and great in that sense, it will most likely not be heritage. As you know, our Red Fife grain is heritage, meaning its more easily digestible because the genes have not been altered unlike modern wheat's. So, if you are eating Red Fife for health reasons, you might just need to stay away from most other wheat flours.

Crusty Seeded French Bread. The 2 on the left were baked free-form, the one on the right in a bread pan

Crusty Seeded French Bread
(originally from Simply in Season cookbook- altered by Anna Chappell)

5 cups Red Fife
1 cup organic soft white or all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
2 Tbsp organic cane sugar, or honey 
1 tsp sea salt
4 Tbsp of any combination of fennel, pumpkin, sunflour, ground flax, poppy seeds
Mix together in a large bowl, or in kitchen aid-mixer if you have one

2 1/2 cups hot water 
1 Tbsp organic olive oil
Gradually add. Mix well. If needed add more flour to make a soft dough...knead at least 10 minutes. I leave mine in the kitchen aid bowl and let it knead for up to 20 minutes. You want the dough to have a soft texture and stretch nicely (take a piece and pull on either side of it with your fingers. If it just breaks, it needs more kneading. If it slowly pulls/stretches apart its ready!)

Place a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth, let rise an hour or until doubled in size. (Draft-free, warm location is ideal). Punch down and let rest for 20 minutes. Divide into 3 equal parts and shape or place in a greased bread pan. Make 4-5 diagonal slices on top of each loaf with a serrated blade.

1 egg
1-2 Tbsp of any combination of seeds
 Beat egg and brush on loaves. Sprinkle seeds on each loaf. Let rise until double. Beake in pre-heated oven at 400F/200C for 20 minutes. (To check done-ness knock on bottom of loaf. A hollow sound means its done!)

Take a picture and share with us via email or our facebook page! And Enjoy!