Millet-pepita Bread

posted in: Bread, Recipes, Yeast Bread | 2
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Measuring ingredients for yeast bread need not be done precisely. You can just scoop out flour with a measuring cup, dump it in a bowl, and go. The trade-off to this ease is that no recipe can tell you exactly how much flour you need. It varies too much by type of flour and heat and humidity present in your kitchen.  Too much and the bread will be dry and unappetizing. Too little and the dough will lack structure, spread out too much, and stick to your pan. I was reminded of the inexactitude of bread baking when Allysia of Super Vegan! made a comment about the whole wheat bread I posted in February. She had made it a few times and liked it, but her dough was coming out too wet. (Check out her blog when you have a chance – there’s some tasty-looking food over there!)With observation and practice, you will develop a feel for how much flour to use. I learned to judge this to when I was first learning to bake bread, but it’s a hard process to describe. If you’re not sure how much to add, you want to err on the side of having not quite enough flour, as a sticky dough still makes a tasty loaf. However, you want to work in enough flour so that the dough holds its shape. An easy way to do this is to put the dough on a floured surface, even if you’ve kneaded it with a mixer, and then sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour on top. Press on it with your hands and if it doesn’t stick to you and it springs back after you push on it, it has enough flour. Otherwise, work more in with your hands, a couple of tablespoons at a time, until you’re confident that your dough is dough. (See what I mean about this being hard to describe?)

As I post bread recipes from now on, I’m going to try to explain this in the recipe better. I pulled out a few cookbooks to check my penciled-in notes, and it seems that I nearly always use less than the recipe calls for, so I’m going to suggest the amount I actually used and then write (or more as needed). I hope this covers everyone’s various conditions adequately!

I’d love to have 100% whole-wheat bread always, but it’s a bit heavy. I’ve been experimenting with different quantities of white and whole wheat flour to lighten the texture, and the sweet spot seems to be about 1/3 white and 2/3 whole wheat, but if you want to make this with whole wheat flour, increase the vital wheat gluten to 1/4 cup.

This is rapidly becoming our favorite bread to have with soup. The millet gives it an amazing, crunchy texture, and the roasted pepitas warm up the flavor perfectly.

Millet-pepita Bread

Pepitas are shelled pumpkin seeds. If these aren’t handy, sunflower seeds would make a good stand-in.

1-3/4 cup warm water, about 105 F
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups white flour
3/4 cup millet
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted pepitas
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or more as needed)

In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together water, yeast and white flour with a fork. Cover and let stand for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This sponge will bubble up and double in volume.

Add millet, pepitas, oil, agave nectar, salt and vital wheat gluten and mix into the sponge with a fork. If you’re using a stand mixer with dough hooks to knead, turn it on now. Work the whole wheat flour into the rest of the ingredients. You may have to stop your mixer and work the last of the flour in with a fork or wooden spoon.

Knead with a mixer on low for 5 minutes or turn dough out on a floured surface and knead by hand for 10 minutes. If your dough is too sticky to work with, add more whole wheat flour a tablespoon or two at a time. When the dough has been kneaded enough it will not stick to your hands and will spring back when touched.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover loosely with a clean dishcloth or paper towel. Set aside to rise until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour. Shape into a rectangle and press into a large 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover again and set aside to rise until doubled, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 F. Bake for 35-40 minutes. To test for doneness, turn bread loaf out of the pan and rap on the bottom with your knuckles. If it makes a sound, the bread is done.

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2 Responses

  1. You don’t expect to see your name show up when you’re groggily catching up on blogs on google reader 😛 Also, definitely going to try this when I have a little more free time!

  2. Gotcha! 😀

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