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Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunflower Honey Wheat Bread

Baking bread is so relaxing for me. The measuring, mixing, and kneading have a rhythm that eases my stress and I get plenty of time while the dough rises to do other things around the house. I have a few go-to bread recipes for sandwich bread and rolls that I use regularly (regularly being at least once or twice a week), but this new recipe will probably be in my top 3 breads I've ever made.

It's not a heavy wheat bread, even with the sunflower seeds. It's probably not ideal for sandwiches just based on the variation of size and shape of slices, but it's great for toast or smeared with a little butter at dinner. I was also expecting the bread to be a little sweeter due to the honey, but it's not too sweet at all. Really it's just fantastic.

Sunflower Honey Wheat Bread

Source: Budget Bytes

1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 Tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2-2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg white

In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup combine the water and honey and mix with a fork until the honey dissolves. Sprinkle the yeast over the water/honey mixture and set aside to proof for 5 minutes.

Roughly chop the sunflower seeds, leaving some of them mostly whole.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large mixing bowl combine the sunflower seeds, whole wheat flour, and salt. Stir with a wooden or plastic spoon or a silicone spatula to combine.

Once the yeast has dissolved and swelled in the water add the oil and mix with a fork.

Pour the water mixture into the flour/sunflower seed mixture.

Stir until all of the flour is incorporated.

Begin adding the all purpose flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough becomes difficult to stir.

Switch to the dough hook on the mixer or turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface to knead.

Continue adding flour as you knead until you have reached between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of flour and the dough is springy and no longer sticky (smooth and elastic).

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat, and cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, until about double in size.

Punch the dough down and divide into two equal pieces.

Form each piece into a ball and place about 4 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Re-cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 1-1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size again.

Once the bread has doubled again, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the egg white with 1 Tbsp of water and beat lightly.

Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg white mixture and then use a very sharp knife to slice the X in the top of each loaf. Make sure when you cut the X that the knife is super sharp and that you use no downward pressure on the bread or it will deflate.

Once the oven is preheated, bake the bread at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Allow the bread to cool (Beth says completely but I couldn't wait) before slicing.

Serve with butter.

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