Hi, my name is Madalina and I am a bread eater. There, I said it. “Oh, Madalina, but what about the gluten, the calories, the grains, etc, etc? ” Well, I have no gluten intolerance; I love eating grains, they bring a lot of nutrients. As for the calories, I don’t care: extra running, extra yoga and they’re gone.
The thing is my kids inherited my passion for bread. Like mother, like children. I’m pretty sure that if I wake them up in the middle of the night and ask them to eat a slice of bread, they’ ll do it.
My husband is a bread eater, too. At the end of every meal, he gets a bite of bread. When I first asked him what he was doing, he told me: “This is dessert, dear”. We are the bread eaters family!
The only “problem” is that they like my bread better than the one we buy. This is the reason I have to bake loaf almost every day. I sometimes use the bread machine, but there are days when I feel like kneading and modelling and flavoring a hand made one.
As I’ve told you before, I believe that fresh or dried herbs enhance the taste of every single food on Earth. Bread is no exception. So, today I will show you a recipe for a three flours bread with many herbs and a special flavor.
8 oz white flour
5 oz whole grain flour
2 oz rye flour
0.5 oz fresh yeast
10 oz warm water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried Italian basil
1 handful sunflower seeds
1 tbsp tomato sauce + 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil for brushing before baking
Makes: 1 bread (25 oz)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Inactive period: 2 hours
Baking time: 45 minutes
First of all, mix the 3 flours into a bowl.
Warm the water over low heat. It should have the body temperature. Take care to warm it a little bit more, because while you stir and wait for the salt and sugar to dissolve, the water gets colder.
That being said, add the salt
the olive oil
and the crushed yeast and mix them well in the water.
Do you recognize the small hands?
Place all this mixture over the flours
together with the seeds
and the spices
and start combining them with a wooden spoon.
Form the dough and transfer it to the floured working surface. You may use a food processor for kneading, but I always prefer doing it with my own hands. It is a very relaxing activity.
The little hands are in action again. Knead however you can: by hands or fists 🙂
You should do this for about 10 minutes, until you get an elastic, non-sticky dough. Follow this link to watch a kneading tutorial. I do things a little bit different, like I add the seeds and herbs at the beginning of the kneading, but the essential steps are the same.
Form a ball and put it in the initial bowl
covered with a damp cloth. Let it rise for about 1h 30min.
After that the volume should double.
Take it out of the bowl and knead a little bit more. Then break it into 2 pieces and shape them into long strips.
Make a braided loaf
and place it into the baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 430ºF. Place an empty tray on the bottom and fill it with water.
Cover the baking tray with the damp cloth and let it rise for 30 minutes more.
This is the way it should look like after half an hour.
Brush the top of the bread with the tomato sauce mixed up with the olive oil.
Open the oven and quickly insert the baking tray, so that the steam is kept inside. This is very good for the crust.
Let it bake to 430ºF for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 360ºF and bake for another 30 minutes. Take care to remove the water tray 5 minutes after you lower the temperature.
When the baking is done, slightly remove the oven door and let the bread inside for 5 more minutes.
After that, take it out and let it cool on a wire rack. It smells fantastic.
Serve with butter while it is a little bit warm. Or with whatever you like. But don’t forget to taste it first as it is, nothing added, so you can fully enjoy its flavor.