This recipe comes courtesy of the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, my Christmas gift from the most fabulous man on Earth, and easily the best “cooking” book I’ve ever had, and it doesn’t even have recipes for “cooking” in it. Maybe I should call it a “kitchen” book instead. Anyhow, I baked this religiously according to the recipe, on a perfectly rainy, dreary, fully awesome baking kind of day, and it was perfect, first shot.
1 1/2 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil
5tbsp honey or molasses
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, chopped (ok, I didn’t follow the recipe, I used pine nuts because that’s all I had)
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp instant yeast
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients to form a shaggy dough. (I use a mixer to make bread, so it’s like a 3-4 minute knead.) Let the dough rest for 20 minutes, which gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquids, then knead it for about 10 minutes, until smooth and supple. The dough will remain sticky.
Let the dough rise, in a greased, covered bowl, for 1 hour. (Now comes my top-secret ingredient—I put my bread in the dryer to rise. I let it run for the last 5 minutes or so that I’m kneading, then I stop it and stick the bread in. I shut the door but don’t latch it, so the heat gradually decreases and the bread doesn’t start to cook, but still stays nice and warm.) Shape it into a log and place it in a lightly greased 8x4-inch bread pan. Cover the pan and let it rise for another hour (usually doesn’t take that long), until it has crowned about 2 inches over the rim of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 350. Bake for about 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with foil for the final 20 minutes (very important step). Remove from the over, turn out of the pan, and let it cool on the rack. It’s still a heavy bread, but not bricklike (I’ve done a few white loaves that were nearly rugby regulation), and I love the texture with the nuts. Totally an awesome recipe.
Done! Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this book?? Well worth the price.