15 August 2011

Three-Seed Whole Wheat Bread

I have been reading Beth Hensperger's The Bread Bible ... and the more I experiment with her breads, the better I get at judging when bread dough 'is just right', when the loaves are perfectly done, how much flour to add as I knead, all the little things that help you get a better loaf of bread! It's so exciting!

...when you only have three seeds ... guess what the post becomes?

I have also made the pilgrimage to the King Arthur store in Norwich, VT and to a couple area foodie stores to pick up such things as bagette loaf pans, a bread molding basket and a liner to go with it, and some stellar flour to use for various loaf types. I also hit a tile store and bought thick terra cotta tiles to place in my oven. These tiles create an upper and lower block of solid heat when I preheat the oven and allow for a really hot start to the baking process and then a steady temperature during the bake time.

Silent Bob has never had it so good. The bread in the grey cottage has been markedly better of late!

Today, I had sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and sunflower seeds all mixed up and kneaded into a nice whole wheat dough.  I set some of the seeds aside and rolled the loaves in the seeds before laying them on parchment paper-lined baguette pans. It worked really well. In the past, loaves like these with a soft dough would settle into flatloaves when left to their own devices, but this baguette pan keeps them rounded and provides support for a nice rise.

The loaves rose nicely on the baguette pans, but they didn't flow up, out, or over the edges. they stayed nice and round and they baked up that way too! Hip, hip, hurray!

So, tonight we'll have a loaf with Heidi Swanson's Buttermilk Squash Soup and tomorrow we'll have toast and peach jam! Hurray for summer squash, peaches, and a good bread cook book!

Beth Hensperger's Four Seed Whole Wheat Bread
slightly adapted by Susan

Combine in a measuring cup and set aside for ten minutes:

  • ⅓ c. warm water (108° F)
  • 2½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ c. honey
Whisk together in a deep bread bowl:

  • 2¾ c. bread flour
  • 1c. whole wheat flour
  • ½ c. wheat germ
  • 1½ tsp. salt

Add to the yeast mixture:

  • ¼ c. sunflower or canola oil
  • 1 c. cool water (80° F)

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry in stages, beating and bringing the sticky dough off the sides of the bowl and toward the center ball.

When all the wet ingredients have been added, turn the dough onto a clean cool surface and knead briskly for a few minutes until all the flour is incorporated and the dough forms a smooth pliant ball of dough.

Let it rest while you clean the bread bowl and grease the inside.

Place the dough ball into the greased bowl and turn it to coat the dough with a thin layer of grease/oil/shortening.

Cover with a clean, damp cloth and place in a warm sunny spot for about 1 ½ hours or until the dough doubles in bulk.

Meanwhile mix together in a small bowl and have ready:

  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1 c. raw sunflower seeds

Press the dough down and turn it onto a clean cool surface. Push the dough into a flat oval and sprinkle the seeds over the surface, reserving a small amount for topping the finished loaves.

Fold the dough and seeds over on itself and begin to gently knead the seeds into the dough.

Divide the dough in half. Continue to push and pull the dough to distribute the seeds and to form two baguettes that are each about 18 inches long.

Lay the loaves on parchment paper in a baguette pan or on a cookie sheet. Cover with the same towel and let them rise for about 45 minutes.

A half hour before you want to bake the bread, place terra cotta tiles on the lowest rack and the highest rack in your oven.

Pre-heat the oven to 450° F.

Place the bread pans on the lowest rack and immediately turn the oven temp down to 375° F.

Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes or until dark brown and ‘hollow sounding’ when rapped with a knuckle.

Remove the bread and place the loaves on a rack to cool before slicing.


  1. AWESOME! These seeded loaves look amazing.

  2. Look at you with your tiles and bread pans! The results look so impressive so I'm sure the extra effort was worth it. Isn't breadmaking just so satisfying when you get that final loaf out of the oven... I love it... and miss it... but new oven comes on Friday... woo hoo!!

  3. I haven't baked bread in far too long but you've inspired me to get back to it! This loaf looks so perfect!

  4. Would have loved to be on that pilgrimage. This bread talk to my soul with all the seeds and grains.

  5. Yes indeed when you have only 3 seeds....Your bread is splendid Susan and is a reminder of how long its been since I baked any! I LOVE bread but it does NOT love my hips...and since I can eat my weight in bread, you get the drift!

    Your cobbler looks SPLENDID too :)

    chow :) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. Oooo, that bread looks yummy! And the soup sounds delicious! I'll bet your home smelled fantastic!

    How did you enjoy your trip to King Arthur? Susan (From Beyond My Kitchen Window) and I loved it! Did you hit the farmers market down the street?

    Have a great week and happy cooking!


  7. Isn't King Arthur Flour something. Your bread looks just as good if not better than any of the bread there. Mary and I were wondering if you would like to go with us in the fall? We thought once the foliage turns it would a nice drive. We can talk about it once we get close to going. Enjoy your toast this morning!!!

  8. @ Mary and Susan- Absolutely! We can arrange a meet up! I was telling my sister-in-law that I wanted to go up come Fall to get the sugar sprinkles and holiday supplies ... some extracts and some flours for baking! Would be fun!

  9. That bread looks downright FANTASTIC!! The Bread Bible sounds like my kinda book, I'm going to look for it!

  10. These are incredible loaves. They look like the ones I buy from the Metropol. A local bakery that provides expensive breads to high end restaurants in nearby Portland. I have to get a copy of Beth's book. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...mary

  11. I'm still not very brave with yeast bread - but this post has made me determined to give it another go!

    Very impressed with your equipment :-))

  12. hi susan, your 3 seed bread looks so appetizing - a must try, cos your photo looks so crisp
    glad i blog walk to your site.. hi, i am from malaysia,do visit my blog , would love to read a comment from you too. have a nice day

  13. aaaaargh! you've reminded me that I 'lent' my Bread Bible to someone, like, 5 YEARS AGO and haven't seen it (or the person) since! I'm going to write it off and go buy a new one. I'd hardly had the chance to cook from it! But I do remember one Italian walnut and raisin bread in there that was amazing. Have you tried it?

  14. wow..looks awesome and healthy ! thanks for stopping by my blog :)


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