Bread. It’s a love/hate relationship, right? It’s so simple, yet so satisfying. Everyone loves it, but no one wants to eat it because it adds inches and whatnot. Well, I say everything in moderation. Except this one. This bread is the single most requested food item requested at my house. I make it and there are times when it doesn’t last half a day. And, on to the next one…
When I came to the US, the bread was one thing I couldn’t get past. It tasted like paper, there was no crust..I loved bread back home! Please don’t hate, it was just a culture shock. So, over the years I managed to find similar-to-back-home breads in various stores and they were acceptable, but nothing was just right. Until I found this recipe by Mark Bittman (video). Oh man, this bread is heaven! The crust is perfectly crunchy and the inside is soft like clouds. What can I say? It’s perfection.
Sure, it takes 12-16 hours to rise, but you sleep during most of it so – no problem. It took me a bit of planning to figure out when to mix the dough in order to have the perfect amount of time to make it the next day, or late in the evening. This recipe needs you to organize your time well, but once you get the gist of it you’re fine. I’ll put my tips on the recipe card.
WARNING – the first loaf you’ll make will disappear on the same day so schedule another batch right away 😀 Enjoy!
- 3 cups of whole wheat flour
- 2 cups of luke warm water (I have to use more than what the original recipe calls for because of whole wheat flour)
- 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1 1/4 tsp himalayan salt
- Optional – seeds. I used sunflower on the inside and on top.
- Mix all the ingredients in a bowl quickly without kneading or working the dough too much. A quick mix until everything is combined is all you need.
- Cover and let rise for 12-18 hours.
- Prepare large cutting board and dust liberally with flour.
- Dump the dough on the board and add more flour on top of it.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds on the flattened dough.
- Fold over about 4-6 times (watch the video as it’s easiest to understand).
- Take an older dish towel that you don’t mind getting messy and lay it flat on the counter top.
- Sprinkle flour liberally on it and add sunflowers on one half.
- Dump the dough on the towel, with the fold that formed facing down so it gets covered with the seeds.
- Cover with the other half of dish towel and let it sit for two more hours.
- Half an hour before 2 hours hit, preheat the oven at about 465F with enameled cast iron inside.
- Open the enameled cast iron carefully and dump the dough in, making sure the fold is now on top. It’s tricky, but you’ll get it right in a couple of tries.
- Bake covered for 30 mins, then uncover and bake for 10-20 mins more until brown.
- Let cool completely on a cookie rack before serving or cutting.
- Share and enjoy with loved ones! 🙂
- Flour – I had to play around with different flours to get the results I liked. I wanted whole wheat, but that doesn’t rise as well as white flour so keep that in mind. Also, different brands of whole wheat rise differently, I find. I like to do half whole wheat and half white, but mostly I just make it with whole wheat because my hubby likes it if it doesn’t rise that much.
- Rising prep – during the week, I make my dough in the morning before I leave for work and then make the bread in the evening. On the weekends I make it around 5 pm and then start the next step around 8 am the next morning.