Recipe Number One Hundred & Fifteen: Page 291.
Due to our tomato plants deciding to offer us a generous but late crop, we had tomatoes dotted over our window sills. Thankfully they have now ripened so are all ready to use. Neil is a keen soup maker; he is always whizzing vegetables in the blender and creating lovely but VERY spicy creations! To him the bounty of tomatoes was too good an opportunity to miss. He therefore decided to make a large batch of soup and we could then freeze what was left over. I made him promise to measure the chilli powder this time, rather than eagerly shaking it in! Now we just needed a rustic bread to go with it. It was a chilly day and a nice hot bowl of tomato soup with crusty seeded bread sounded heavenly; it was an easy choice to make.
The picture in the Baking Bible made my mouth water; the bread looked so tasty. I couldn't wait to make my own. Quite a few ingredients were needed, so a trip to the supermarket was required. Once equipped with all the necessary seeds and oats I could make a start.
The linseed and porridge oats needed to soak in boiling water. As I added the piping hot water, the seeds and oats acted as a sponge and, within seconds, the water had vanished. When I mixed the soggy mixture I felt like I was making porridge; it certainly looked and smelled the same. I left the porridgy mixture for ten minutes to cool off. I then could tip in a large amount of white bread flour, followed by a little wholemeal bread flour. The amount of brown was tiny in comparison to the white, which was surprising given the title of this recipe. Next, I added a good quantity of sunflower seeds; this was shaping up to be a very healthy bread! I just needed to add the yeast and a large quantity of warm water and mix it all together. Mary mentions it should be a sticky dough, but mine felt rather dry to start with. I had the opposite problem when I started to knead it as it soon turned sticky. I required a fair amount of flour to stop it glueing to the worktop. The dough was huge and I had trouble dealing with it as, unlike the rest of me, my hands are quite small! After five minutes of kneading, the dough felt more responsive and was smooth and elastic. I placed it into a bowl covered with cling film to rise for an hour. I was impressed to find that after that time the dough had indeed doubled in size! As proud as I was of its sheer size, I of course had to knock it back and knead it again for several minutes. I could have chosen to shape the dough into one large loaf or two smaller ones. I went for the latter of the two options; we could save the second loaf for sandwiches the following day. I had to line a tray with baking paper. I wondered if this was due to the dough being a little on the sticky side. I covered my two enormous rolls and left them to grow even more for around half an hour.
My little boy was up from his nap when it came to putting the rolls into the oven. I want to get him involved with baking soon, so I crouched down next to him with the tray of rolls balanced precariously on my knees. As I brushed over some milk he couldn't resist having a poke; he looked most perturbed at the feel of the dough. However, it didn't stop him poking it several more times! I gave him a few oats to sprinkle on top of the rolls but of course they went straight into his mouth. Oh well, I tried! I finished off the sprinkling and then popped the tray into the hot oven. Soon the glorious smell of bread was filling the house. I couldn't wait to try a slice of hot bread with butter, mmmm. After the suggested cooking time I took the tray out of the oven and tapped the bottom of the rolls. They didn't sound quite hollow, so I turned them over and put them back in the oven upside down, to cook their bottoms, for five more minutes. I was very pleased with the look of these rolls, they certainly looked rustic. After leaving them to cool for ten minutes I could resist no longer. I cut a slice, spread on some butter and watched it melt quickly into the bread. Isaac toddled over to me, offering his most winning smile. I wasn't sure if he would like it due to the seeds but I selflessly gave him a little of my slice of bread; he loved it and wanted more and so did I!!!
Later that evening, Neil and I enjoyed the bread with Neil's delicious tomato soup; it was still spicy but much tamer than his previous batch! It is such a treat to have fresh homemade bread. I feel bad that I don't make it much more regularly, but unfortunately homemade bread is rather time consuming. We have a bread maker which we use, but I feel like I'm cheating if I don't make it with my own two hands, silly I know!! There is no doubt this bread is delicious and I particularly like the nutty flavour of the linseeds and the crunch of the sunflower seeds. It is a really lovely bread that was good fun to make and is deliciously good!