Sunday, March 17, 2013

Six Seed No-Knead Bread Recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I made bread for a dinner party that I was throwing.  I wasn't particularly happy with the bread.  It was tasty, but it was also pretty dense.  I ended up going back to the drawing board and tried something completely new: no-knead bread.   I was skeptical at first, but the results were spectacular.  The bread was fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  Sadly, the recipe was designed for a round loaf, which isn't particularly useful for making sandwiches, so I went back and adapted the recipe to make two small loaves.  While I was adapting the recipe, I also mixed in six types of seeds and some whole wheat flour. 

There are two downsides to no-knead bread.  The first downside is time.  The time investment isn't actually that bad.  It takes about 20 minutes of active work to make the bread.  The problem is that you need to start the recipe about 14-20 hours before you plan to eat the bread.  This requires a little planning.  The second downside is that you need a large dutch oven that is oven safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.  I used a beautiful 6 qt. Lodge Color Dutch Oven that I got on  Amazon says that it is oven safe up to 450 degrees, but the information in the box said that it's safe up to 500 degrees.  If you wish to make loaves you'll also need two 4"x8" bread pans.

Also, the original recipe came from Martha Stewart: (Yeah, I know, but she knows her stuff.)

  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • ~2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • ~2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • ~2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • ~2 tablespoons whole millet
  • ~2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • ~1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • (You can use pretty much any combination of seeds or nuts, this is just what I wanted to put in it.  I wouldn't put more than 12 tablespoons of seeds or nuts, but it won't hurt to put in less.  The first time I made the recipe, I didn't put in any seeds at all!).
In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until combined.  You can mix it with a spoon, but I prefer to get in there with my hands.  The dough will be very sticky and a bit shaggy.  That's ok.  
If you removed the dough from the bowl to mix it with your hands, put it back in the bowl.  Martha says that you should use a second oiled bowl, but I honestly couldn't be bothered.  I just used the same bowl, flour chunks and all.

Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap.  The plastic wrap should be touching the dough; this will keep the surface of the dough from drying.  I also like to put a second sheet of plastic wrap over the top of the bowl.  My first batch of dough got a little dry around the edges because the first piece of plastic wrap shifted as the dough rose.  I avoided this problem by double wrapping.

Let dough rest at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 18, in a room about 70 degrees in temperature. The dough's surface will be dotted dotted with holes when dough is ready.

Lightly flour work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice.  As you continue to fold the dough, sprinkle in the seeds handful by handful until they are fully incorporated.  If you are making two small loaves, divide the dough in half and place it in the bread pans.  Using a super-sharp, knife cut a 1/4" deep groove lengthwise down the top of the bread.  This will keep it from cracking while baking.  Cover the pans with a towel for the second rise.

(If you prefer a large round loaf instead of two small loaves, sprinkle a non-terry cloth towel with all-purpose flour, semolina flour, corn meal, or wheat bran.  Shape the dough into a round shape and place the dough in the center of the towel seam side down.  Cover the dough with a second towel.)

Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.

After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot, such as a Dutch oven, in oven as it heats (you don't have to put the lid on the pan while it is heating). When dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven.  Place one small bread pan in the Dutch oven and cover with the lid.  After 22 minutes, remove the lid of the Dutch oven to allow the bread to brown.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes.  After the first loaf is out of the oven, bake the second loaf following the same procedure.  Remove the bread from the bread pans as soon as it is out of the oven to keep the bottom from getting soggy.
(If you are making a single round loaf, remove top towel from dough and slide your hand under the bottom towel.  Turn dough over into the extremely hot pot, seam side up. Listen to the sizzle!  Cover and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking until browned, 10-20 minutes.)
Prepare yourself for the bestest bread ever!!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Vegan Spiced Chocolate Brownies

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons milled flax seed
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup espresso or strong coffee
 ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup wheat flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line an 8”x8” cake pan with greased parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the milled flax seed and water and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

To the flax seed mixture, add the sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla.  I used a spoon to combine all of my ingredients.  The batter gets a little thick so it was easier to use a spoon than a mixer.

Combine the hot espresso and the chocolate chips in order to melt the chocolate chips.  Add the espresso/chocolate chip mixture to the wet ingredients.  Melting the chocolate chips in this way makes the brownies extra fudgy.  

Sift together the cocoa powder, spices, baking soda, salt, and flour.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  The mixture will be quite thick.

Spoon out the batter into the lined baking cake pan.

Bake for 25-28 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  (Since it is vegan, you can underbake them just slightly to make the brownies a little more moist)