Bread plays an important role during the long winter months, be it as part of a comforting door-stop sandwich or simply to accompany a hearty bowl of soup. As such, it’s important to keep your choice in bread fresh and varied; five months of white bread isn’t entirely appealing. In this situation it’s best to bring a little extra flavour and texture to the mix. This recipe for Seed and Honey Bread delivers in spades on both counts.
With recipes like this, it is a real shame to use only white bread flour, and I often find wholemeal to be a little ungainly and unpleasant to work with. It is far better to replace around a quarter to a third of the total quantity of white flour with that of an older, more rustic grain like spelt or rye. Using just a little of either grain gives homemade bread a more complex, enjoyable flavour and a slightly improved texture, without weighing down the final product.
There’s nothing more comforting than waking up to a frosty morning and slathering a thick slice of toast with a generous portion of good quality honey. Adding a tablespoon of honey to a loaf has a very similar effect, serving to sweeten, develop depth of flavour and even preserve your bread. You’ll find that any honey will do, though if there are options available I’d suggest choosing a relatively mild example, as it shouldn’t be given the chance to dominate the subtle flavour of the seeds. For the ultimate in comfort eating, why not toast a slice of this bread and spread it with a set honey of your choice. Heaven.
Seed and Honey Bread
Makes 1 medium boule
• 300g white bread flour
• 100g rye flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 50g mixed seeds + extra to roll
• 260ml tepid water
• 7g sachet fast-action yeast
• 1 tbsp honey
• 3 tbsp olive oil
1. In a measuring jug, gently whisk together the water, honey and yeast – set aside.
2. Take a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine the flours, salt and seeds.
3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and tip in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Bring together into soft dough – you may have to alter the amount of water to achieve this.
4. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 8-10 minutes and return it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and set in a warm place to double in size (~1 hour).
5. Turn the dough out on to a floured surface and knock back. Shape into a boule, roll in a handful of seeds, place on a lightly oiled baking tray, cover and return to a warm place to prove.
6. Once springy to the touch and roughly doubled in size, heat your oven to 220C/200C(fan) and bake for 30-35 minutes until dark brown. It should sound hollow when tapped on its base. Set aside to cool before slicing.
Cost: Good quality honey may cost a fair whack, but it does go a long way – particularly in bread. Indeed, though this loaf does have a few added ingredients it should set you back no more than £1.50. Far cheaper than an equivalent loaf at a supermarket or bakery!