Aggie’s Whole Wheat Sunflower Seed Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
The Wilcoxes are vegetarians, and between following clues and finding murderers, Aggie makes lots of their food from scratch. This recipe is a staple in their home—and mine, as well. The bread is heavy, and coarse textured, both of which can be lightened by switching amounts of white and wheat flours. Try adding more honey if you like it sweeter. The recipe is flexible and forgiving.
Aggie and I make all our bread with a KitchenAid mixer, and these instructions reflect that. Of course you can do this by hand, as well.
Combine in mixer bowl:
2 cups warm water (approximately 120 degrees)
2 cups all purpose or bread flour
2 packages of active dry yeast (you can use 1 with longer rising times)
1 Tablespoon of sugar
Using the dough hook, mix thoroughly, (Setting 2 on Emilie’s mixer) then without removing, cover the bowl and let sit about 30 minutes until it begins to bubble and rise.
Quick tip: In the next section, measure your oil first, then without washing the cup, measure the honey. It won’t stick to the cup.
Add to bowl:
3 cups of whole wheat flour (Emilie likes the white whole wheat variety)
1 cup regular rolled oats
¼ cup buttermilk powder (or non-fat dry milk)
¼ cup canola oil—if you’re not worried about fat, melted butter is tasty
¼ cup honey or more to taste
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup sunflower kernels—raw
Nice additions if you have them: chopped nuts, raisins, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit (cranberries are wonderful) etc. Just don’t overdo.
Mix on setting 2 using the dough hook for about 6 minutes, adding flour or water as needed to make a smooth dough that doesn’t stick to the sides. When you’ve finished and you’re removing the dough from the mixer bowl, it should not stick to your hands, nor should it be stiff and dry. As one bread maker told me, it should be as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with a dish towel and let it sit in a warm place for 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled. I turn on my oven for about 1 minute, then turn it off and put the bread in to rise.
When doubled, gently deflate and divide for two regular oiled pans. I use small clay loaf pans, soaked first in water, and this recipe fills four plus enough for a smallish round loaf. The recipe lends itself well to round or oval “peasant” loaves baked on an oiled cookie sheet.
When the dough has risen to the top of the pans or a little beyond, (about 40 minutes) bake at 375 for approximately 40-45 minutes. Check during the final 20 minutes, and if it’s browning too quickly, tent the pans with aluminum foil.
This bread toasts beautifully and is great served with maple spread or sliced, then brushed with olive oil and toasted in preparation for your favorite bruschetta topping. Freeze the extra loaf for another day. Or better yet, give it to a good friend, hot and fragrant, right out of the oven.