Ahhhh bread… It’s true that I love many, many types of food, appreciate numerous flavours and textures, and love trying new ingredients. But if I had to choose my favourite food in all the world, bread would be it. Nothing beats a warm, crusty loaf, straight out of the oven, sliced into thick doorstops and spread with real butter. I’ve said it many times, but my favourite type of lunch for a day at home on a Saturday will always be freshly baked bread with butter! However, as you know, I like to do my best to get as much benefit as possible from the nutrition in the food I eat, so I like to use wholegrain and wholemeal flours, beneficial additions such as nuts and seeds, and perhaps a little dried fruit.
I knew when thinking about the composition of this loaf that I wanted it to contain wholegrains, but also to offer something a little different, so I decided to make up 25% of the flour content with rye flour. Rye is an ingredient which boasts a plethora of benefits for the body, which you can read about in detail here. Using rye flour creates a dense loaf, however, and whereas I actually eat a reasonable amount of 100% rye flour bread during the week (I get it in packets from the supermarket; Lidl does a good one, or the Biona brand is delicious) which I pile with veggies and smashed avocado; or scrambled egg; or almond butter, pear and honey, I knew that for this loaf I wanted a finished product which would provide that homely feeling of sharing a nicely-risen, crusty bread. I decided on a combination of 50% strong wholemeal bread flour, and 25% each rye flour and strong white bread flour. The addition of the white flour imparts a little lightness to the loaf, nicely balancing the two other flours and other additions of seeds and currants.
I hope that introduction has made your mouth water, and that perhaps you are thinking, “Yes, I could really do with going back to basics for my lunch tomorrow… I’m going to make this loaf, slather it with butter, and take my time to enjoy it!”
- 250g strong stoneground wholemeal flour
- 125g rye flour
- 125g strong white bread flour
- 50g currants
- 1 tbsp dried active yeast
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 1 tsp golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp each dark and light sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 300ml warm water from the tap
Stand mixer (not essential)
Place the golden caster sugar and the dried active yeast in a small bowl and pour over 150ml of the warm water. Mix gently with a teaspoon, then set aside to activate whilst you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Place all three flours and the salt in a large bowl and mix together. Add the currants, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds and stir in.
Make a well in the centre and add the honey, then pour over the activated yeast. Using the remaining water, swill out the yeast bowl so as not to waste any, and add this to the bowl too. Using a large wooden spoon to start with, combine the ingredients until they are coming together, then use your hands to finish off combining until is has become a well-formed dough.
If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, transfer the dough to the bowl and knead for five minutes until it has a nice sheen. If you don’t have a stand mixer, very lightly flour a work surface and knead for around 10 minutes until a sheen has developed and the dough is nicely established.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, lightly oil a piece of clingfilm and place this over the top, then set aside for an hour to prove. Knock back the dough, form it into a rough oval shape, and place on an oiled baking tray. Place the piece of oiled clingfilm over the bread and set aside for another hour to rise.
Pre-heat the oven to fan 200°C. When the oven has come up to temperature, place the bread in for 10 minutes. When the buzzer goes, turn down the oven temperature to 180°C and time for a further 23 minutes. Do not open the oven after the 10 minutes!
Remove from the oven and set aside for a couple of minutes until cool enough to handle, then enjoy with butter and some close friends of family, after all, bread is the food of companionship and love.
With much love to you,