I know what you’re thinking.
“Does this lady bake anymore?”
Yes this lady does bake. However, she doesn’t exclusively bake from the bakebook. She also bakes for her friend’s wedding.
The bride requested an Earl Grey cake with vanilla buttercream and I am pleased to tell you it worked out! I mean I assume it did. They didn’t complain about it. It stayed standing and looked alright which is all you really need in a wedding cake made for cutting. (The donuts were for the guests; the cake for wedding tradition.)
After the wedding, I was tired and busy and mostly lazy, which brings us to today. A free Saturday with time for bread risings.
But which bread do I bake? The Moroccan wreath that I still don’t understand why it’s in a British bakebook? The plaited saffron loaf that requires me to go find saffron? Or the multigrain loaf that I basically had all the ingredients for except sunflower seeds?
I don’t know if it’s obvious, but I chose the last one.
This recipe starts with telling me to soak wheatgerm, oats, linseeds, sesame and sunflower seeds, and salt in water for an hour.
Already, though, I’m changing things up.
I don’t know what wheatgerm is, and when I googled a substitute, it suggested flaxseeds. But behind “linseeds” in the list of ingredients it says “flaxseeds” in parentheses. So I can’t use flaxseeds twice. Another substitute, according to a site I found on the Google, is chia seeds. Which I have.
So I put chia seeds in a bowl.
The next on the list is technically porridge oats and I don’t know how that’s different from the oats I have, so I threw in the oats I have.
Next on the list is the linseeds, a.k.a. flaxseeds. However, I have ground flaxseeds, not whole ones. And if this recipe wanted me to soak ground flaxseeds, I think it would’ve said it. Also I’ve heard from a health nut in my life that flaxseeds are actually useless to our bodies unless they’re ground down. So instead of putting the ground flaxseeds into the water to soak it and then create a super mess, I decided to mix that into the flour, yeast and water stage.
Sesame seeds I had. Sunflower seeds I did not. Salt I obviously had.
Instead of putting off the hour-long soaking to go get sunflower seeds on a walk, I decided to do the majority of the soaking and then add the sunflower seeds in for a little bit while I made the dough.
So that’s what I did.
Chia seeds, oats, sesame seeds and salt, mixed with water and left to soak.
*the duration of one lengthy walk later*
I threw in the sunflower seeds and added a bit more water.
Then I combined wholewheat flour, rye flour and white bread flour…
…plus that ground flaxseed.
As mentioned, I had just come back from a particularly lengthy walk and I am super out of shape, so I decided to be lazy and knead via mixer today.
Mary and Paul told me to add the remaining lukewarm water until the dough is slightly firm, not sticky or soft, not dry or hard.
This looked pretty dry to me, so I added more lukewarm water until it formed a ball.
Then I let it sit for 5 minutes “to allow the flours to become fully hydrated.”
*five (or more) minutes later*
I then got the mixer started to knead it for 5 to 10 minutes. It says to knead it on a low speed, but the dough wasn’t moving off the hook. In hindsight, I should’ve checked the stickiness of the dough, but instead I just turned up the speed.
*about sx minutes later*
With the bread kneaded, I could add the seed mixture. I thought about adding it to the bowl, but the chances of it becoming actually incorporated was too low, so I turned the dough out onto a floured surface…and added more flour.
‘Twas very sticky dough.
After kneading in some more flour, I dumped the goopy, wet seed mixture onto stretched out dough and tried to take a photo. The photo did not turn out. My hands were a mess. I just needed to deal with this as best I could.
Kneading it on the counter top was proving tricky as it kept sliding everywhere, so I’d add more flour and then mix it together like a stress ball lifted in the air.
Eventually it came together and the seeds seemed to be throughout the dough, so I formed it into a ball…
…washed my hands…
…oiled the bowl and put it back in to rise.
I have a friend who also bakes bread (hey, Dessa!) and she turns her oven light on for rising scenarios, so I did the same, hoping that it could combat the cooler temperatures of my basement dwelling.
*one hour later*
The light trick definitely works, guys. (Thanks, Dess!)
Also if you’ve never baked bread, I heartily recommend it so that you can do this:
Since I’m making a loaf, I get to do the fun loaf formation of pressing the dough into a flat rectangle and then Swiss-rolling it up and pinching it closed…
…and then tucking the ends under when you pop it into a buttered tin.
Time for another oven-light rising.
*one hour later*
Like it really worked.
With one long slash down the middle, this bread baby is ready to bake.
*about half an hour later*
My bread baby matured, guys.
And sounds hollow.
Okay this metaphor got really weird really fast. I’m sorry I called it a bread baby.
Also can we just talk about how it’s kind of awkward to see if the bottom sounds hollow when you’re baking it because you have to pop it out of the tin and pop it back into the tin with cumbersome oven mitts.
Because it’s awkward.
As is waiting for bread to cool enough so I can eat it all.
I had to leave the house.
*a few hours later*
I went out, ate dinner, saw a couple dogs, washed my hands, and came back to have bread for dessert.
Beautiful, healthy, multigrain bread.
With soft, slightly softened-by-the-microwave butter.
And then another slice with butter and cherry jam.
I was going to keep this bread, slice it up and use it for future toast and sandwich needs, but I honestly don’t know if I can leave it alone.
It’s so delicious.
Maybe just one more slice.
I will definitely be making this one again.