Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Whole Wheat Sunflower Baguettes

Sunflower Baguette

Warm bread, straight from the oven, is a favorite in our house. Specialty breads are available at the store, but often they are about $4-5 a loaf and are never as good as homemade. This recipe is something that I used to make long ago, but then forgot about until recently. These are really difficult not to just slather with butter and devour seconds after you take them from the oven, but the bonus is that you get not one, but two baguettes with this recipe.

Today as the wind howled and the rain pounded the windows outside, and I lay in bed sick with a cold, I dreamed of these baguettes. Too sick to actually make them, I thought all was lost until I remembered the thick slice I had tucked into my lunch in anticipation of going to work.

All was not lost - I finally had my warm bread slathered with butter for lunch, and you can too!

Adapted from Canadian Living

2/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp flax seeds
2 tsp quick rise instant dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm milk
3 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten

Toast 1/2 cup of the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat until golden.  Watch them carefully! Seeds go from perfect to burned in seconds.  Set them aside to cool.

In a bowl, whisk together 1 cup of flour, the whole wheat flour, flax, and yeast.  Set aside.

Using a small saucepan, warm the milk, brown sugar, oil,  and salt until the milk is steaming. Set it aside to cool, but you want it to be around 110 F, or as warm as a baby bottle.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, stirring.  I have a stand mixer so I just let it go using the dough hook.  Sometimes I have to stop it and with a wooden spoon, scrape down the sides to get the flour incorporated into the dough.  Add the 1/2 cup of remaining flour if you need it, but the dough should be somewhat sticky. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, turning to coat,  and cover with a clean tea towel.  Let rise for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Punch down the dough, cut in half, and roll out out each piece  to about a 16x4 inch rectangle.  They make fairly skinny baguettes, so I usually make mine about 12x 5 inches.  Starting at the side closest to you, roll up until you have a long roll, pinching the seams when you get to the end.  Set each onto a baking sheet and cover with a clean tea towel.  Set aside in a warm place to rise, about 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

Brush the risen baguettes with the beaten egg, and sprinkle with the remaining raw sunflower seeds. You have to press them onto the dough a little, as they will tend to fall off.  When the oven is good and hot, put the baguettes in on the middle rack, and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the bottoms are golden and sound hollow when tapped.  Keep an eye on them, the original recipe said to bake for 25 minutes but I didn't go near that long and they were definitely done early.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

These are best served the same day, or you can wrap one up in plastic film and then foil, and put in the freezer for another day.  Being home made, they do go stale a little quicker than bread that you buy from the store.

Makes two baguettes
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