“Make sure you add lots of seeds in it.”
Today is my dad’s birthday! Now, if I were very courageous, I would go ahead and bake a bread with his favourite food of all time… but because I’m not a daring baker (or even if I were) I’m not sure how good a loaf of fried calamari bread would taste. Fried calamari with a hunk of toasty garlicky bread on the side, sure, but I don’t even know if anyone even attempted putting fried calamari into bread before. (Come on, I challenge you to prove otherwise!) So I am going to incorporate his other favourite foods instead – oatmeal, and seeds. Seeds of all kinds, and lots of them.
Oatmeal Bread with Many Seeds
Slightly adapted from James Beard’s Oatmeal Bread in Beard on Bread
Makes two loaves
– 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
– 1 cup boiling water
– 1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
– 1 tsp granulated sugar
– 1/2 cup water, lukewarm
– 1 cup milk, lukewarm
– 1 tbsp salt
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
– 4-5 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour is okay too but you’ll have to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly)
– 1 tbsp poppy seeds
– 1 tbsp flax seeds
– 1 tbsp sesame seeds
– 1 1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds
Cook the oats in the boiling water until thickened, about three minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool until it’s lukewarm. In the meantime, proof the yeast by adding it to the warm water with a teaspoon of sugar, and stir until dissolved. It should become bubbly and foamy in 8-10 minutes. Add the warm milk, salt, brown sugar, two teaspoons of each of the seeds (poppy, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds) and yeast mixture to the oats and stir well. Gradually add in the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough starts leaving the sides of the bowl and becomes too stiff to stir with a wooden spoon (this will take about four cups of flour or so).
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured board. Knead into a smooth and elastic dough for around 6-8 minutes, adding only as much flour as necessary to get a slightly tacky dough. Shape the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until roughly doubled in bulk – this will take anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Gently degas the dough (pat it down to gently deflate the bubbles), divide into two portions and shape each into a loaf. Place the shaped loaves into two 8″ x 4″ loaf pans (I shaped mine into free-form boules), cover, and let them rise in a warm place until they’ve crested about 1″ above the rim of the pans or until they are around doubled in bulk.
Right before baking, lightly brush the loaves with water and top with the remaining seeds, and if you like, use a sharp knife to slash an X on the top of the loaves.
Bake in the middle rack of a preheated 375F oven for about 40-45 minutes, until the loaves are a golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the loaves and let them cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before serving.
Oh, and yes, this many seed oatmeal bread is best enjoyed just the way my dad would love it: toasted, with a thick slathering of butter on top.
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