From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I have a cautionary tale to share with you tonight. That it is being told at all is a measure of my trust in you, and I'm secure in the knowledge that what follows is, and shall remain, our little secret. Now, I know the bread in tonight's photo doesn't look too terrible, but, truth be told, it is inedible. I've made this bread, which is a family favorite, for decades now and never had a problem with it, so, I have to conclude that the problem lies with me rather than with the stellar, if old fashioned, recipe that I use to make it. Now, I should have known there was a problem when the dough failed to reach the very pregnant height I like my loaves to have. Ever the optimist, I brushed my concern aside and concluded that the kitchen must be cooler than usual and proceeded to bake off the loaves as I usually do. While I hate to wait for bread to cool, I practiced restraint and didn't touch the loaves until they were at room temperature. I had soft Irish butter waiting to slather on the crusty first slice which traditionally belongs to me. I finally took a bite, but it did not remain in my mouth for any length of time. The flour I used to make the bread was rancid. Last weekend, I grabbed 5 pounds of flour from a store shelf, but did not check the sell-by date. As it turned out, it was better than a year past its prime and I did not catch the rancid odor, because the infection I've been fighting has temporarily knocked out my sense of smell. Backtracking through the bread's assembly, I picked up on some other problems as well. I realized that I'd measured the yeast in teaspoons rather than tablespoons, and had completely forgotten to add much needed salt to the bread dough. I hope its true that bad luck comes in threes. Anything that could go wrong with this lovely bread did and by my count there were three problems. That means I home free, for a while at least. I suspect I'll be checking sell-by dates from this point forward and I think I'll be a bit more thorough with my mise en place. This really is a lovely bread and I hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here is how the bread is made.
Seeded Whole Wheat Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Yvonne Tarr Young
2-1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup honey
3 cups warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
6 to 7-1/2 cups whole wheat flour + flour for kneading
1/3 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1) Combine yeast, sugar and water in a very large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add oil, salt, 1/2 the flour, sunflower seeds and coconut flakes; beat with a wooden spoon for 100 strokes. Add remaining flour, and, working with hands, mix to form a very stiff dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, using more flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to work surface. Place dough, smooth-side down in a large bowl that has been coated with oil. Cover, place in a warm place and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled. Punch down to original size and let rise again until double in bulk. Turn onto work surface and punch down. Divide dough into three equal pieces. Form into loaves and place in generously oiled bread pans. Cover, and let rise again until dough reaches top of pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. during final rise.
2) Bake in the center of oven for 50 to 60 minutes, rotating loaves from front to back at the half-hour mark. Brush tops lightly with butter; remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Yield: 3 loaves.
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