Sunflower and oat topped wholemeal brown bread recipe

As part of our back to basics effort I have begun regularly baking my own bread again. This is my favourite recipe and always provides a good loaf.

I make up a large batch of dough at a time, after the first rising I divide the dough into three portions, 1 portion I divide again into two large or three medium balls cover and pop them individually in the freezer for pizza basses for a later date, great for when the kids say they are popping in after work. The rest of the dough gets kneaded again and shaped for a second rising, these I make into 2 largish loaves or 1 loaf and the rest for rolls.

1500 g Organic wholewheat bread flour.

  • Often I will mix it up a bit and throw in a couple  of handfuls of other flours like spelt or a little buckwheat to make up the weight. I am experimenting with lower gluten flour as wheat intolerance runs in the family. Spelt rises quicker than conventional wheat so keep an eye on it and go by sight rather than timings on the rising.

3 level teaspoons of quick yeast.            

  • Dove does a larger package that cuts down on foil based individual packaging.   

2 level teaspoons fine sea salt.
3 Tablespoons quality cold pressed virgin olive oil.
1 teaspoon local honey.
900mls warm water.
Milk to coat. any type (optional)
Handful of sunflower seeds and oat flakes.

1. Place all the flours into a large bowl and add the salt and yeast.
2. To 900 mls of warm water add the 3 tablespoons oil and the honey add and mix by hand into the flour bowl. When a ball forms transfer onto a floured work surface and continue to knead until you obtain a nice springy texture.
Place back into the bowl cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about 3/4/hour to 1 hour, an airing cupboard doe a good job.
3. Knock back and knead again, when the dough feels soft and springy form into required shape. Place onto baking tray or tin I like to use a baking stone. Coat with a little milk, then top with sunflower seeds and oat flakes. Take a sharp knife and slash twice diagonally across the top of the dough without pressing down, this releases the soft under dough and allows it to stretch more when rising.  Another coating option is to roll in rye flour which gives the bread a lovely earthy appearance.
4. Place back into a warm place to rise again about the same time as before.
5.Without knocking the dough place into a pre heated oven and bake at gas mark 6, 200C fan oven. You may need to increase temp slightly for oven without fan. Check after 10 minutes and adjust temperature, if browning too quickly, turn down slightly, continue to cook for between 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and hollow when tapped on the bottom. If the bottom is still doughy when tapped return to tin and continue cooking.
6. Remove from oven and turn out from tin, stone or tray, transfer to a cooling rack or place across top of tins if using.                                        

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