Make your own four seed bread
Natali Harea of Nat's Bread Co. shares an easy recipe to warm you up through this January cold spell
This January deep freeze has coincided with the return of online schooling in many households, meaning many of us have been searching for family-friendly foods and sources of comfort at the same time.
To that end, on the D is for Dinner segment this week for CBC Radio's All In A Day, Natali Harea of Nat's Bread Co. helped refresh our bread-baking skills. She also shared her recipe for four seed bread, a popular and easy loaf that appeared in Anne DesBrisay's Ottawa Cooks cookbook published in 2016.
"This bread is a fan favourite at Nat's Bread Company. It's versatile enough to be used for everything from sandwiches to French toast," said Harea.
Four seed bread
- 4 1/8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup white sesame seeds, raw
- 1/3 cup poppy seeds, raw
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, raw, hulled
- 1/3 cup flax seeds, raw, whole
- 2 3/4 cups plus 1 tbsp water, room temperature
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tray ice cubes
- Preheat your oven to 450 F with racks positioned in the middle and lower third of the oven. Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, active dry yeast and sesame, poppy, sunflower, and flax seeds. Mix by hand to ensure the seeds are evenly dispersed throughout the flour.
- Add 2.5 cups water and olive oil to the dry ingredients. Mix by hand, just to combine. Allow your dough to rest for 20 minutes.
- Add salt to the dough. Using the electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, continue mixing your dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. Your dough should look smooth and should start pulling away from the sides of the bowl, but it will still feel sticky to the touch. If the dough hasn't started pulling away from the sides of the bowl, continue mixing, checking back every few minutes, until it has. If the dough isn't sticky to the touch, add the final 1/4 cup of water to the dough, 1 tbsp. at a time.
- Transfer your mixed dough to a lightly greased metal or glass bowl, at least two times the size of the dough itself. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel. Allow your bread to rise in a warm, draft free, location until doubled in size.
- Turn your dough out onto a lightly-floured countertop. Using a bench scraper or dull knife, cut the dough into two equal portions.
- Round each portion into a boule, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover your bread loosely with greased plastic wrap. Allow to rise in a warm, draft free, location until doubled in size – about 45 minutes.
- While your bread is rising, place a clean, empty roasting pan or rimmed sheet tray on the lower rack in your oven. Allow it to preheat while your bread rests.
- Once your bread has doubled in size, score an "X" across the top, using a serrated knife. Your cuts should be about one-inch deep. Place your tray of bread on the upper rack of your oven. Working quickly, toss ice onto the clean, hot tray on the bottom rack of your oven and close the door. Immediately turn the oven temperature down to 400 F.
- Bake your bread for 30-40 minutes, turning your tray halfway through, until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow inside when tapped on the bottom. The hardest part of the recipe is allowing the bread to cool completely before serving!