Nutty seedy half-n-half bread.

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Regular readers will know that I used to bake a lot of bread, but for one reason or another my bread-baking has fallen by the wayside in recent months. Working away from home a lot, writing a large book, and a very busy work schedule meant it somewhat slipped a few notches down the priority list. But as I made the kids lunches in the mornings with the supermarket loaf, I started to get a niggling nag in the back of my head – I wanted to make it myself. And so, on Sunday, I rolled up my sleeves and started baking again. In for a penny, I was going to try to make it as good and wholesome as possible – so I opted for half wholemeal flour, and a fistful of nuts and seeds thrown in for good measure… The enthusiastic response from the household tells me this is the first of many many loaves to come!

250g wholemeal flour
250g plain flour
7g packet dried fast action yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
150g walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds – in any quantity
400ml warm water

First, blitz your nuts and seeds in a food processor and set to one side. I used around 80g walnuts, 40g sunflower seeds and 30g pumpkin seeds but any mixture of nuts or seeds will do – use what you have and love.

Sift the wholemeal and plain flours into a large mixing bowl – some of the larger grains of wholemeal flour won’t pass through the sieve, so tip them in – that’s the good stuff! Add the dried yeast, sugar, salt, and your blitzed nuts-n-seeds, and give it all a good stir.

Make a well in the centre and measure out your water – warm water from the tap will do, but a temperature comfortable to leave your hand in for a few seconds – if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for your poor yeast, which is a little living thing too… Pour most of the water in and give it all a good stir, adding more water as you go to form a soft dough. Don’t overwork it at this stage, as it will release too much gluten, and become tight and stiff and not much fun at all. (If this does happen, and trust me it happens to the best of us, add an extra splash of water to loosen it up, cover it and leave it to breathe for an extra half an hour or so before knocking back and kneading – then carry on as below).

Tip your dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for a good five minutes until soft and springy. (If you’re not sure how to knead bread, this simple tutorial on the BBC Food website is a great two minute guide – and once you know, you know!)

Shape it into a round (or a triangle, or an ampersand, if the mood takes you). Lightly dust the inside of your mixing bowl with flour and pop your dough back in. Cover with a clean cloth or cling film, and leave for forty five minutes to rise.

When the dough has risen – it should be around twice the size it was – carefully tip it out of the bowl and heat your oven to 180C. Lightly dust a baking sheet with flour and pop it on, lightly knocking it back into shape. Use a sharp knife to score a line down the middle just less than an inch deep, dust the top with flour, and pop it in the oven for 50 minutes, until risen, crusty on the outside, and hollow-sounding when you tap it on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Will keep for around 3 days wrapped in a food bag and kept in a cool, dry place, or 3 months in the freezer.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

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37 thoughts on “Nutty seedy half-n-half bread.

  1. Luckily although it’s easy to get out of the habit of making homemade bread, it’s just as easy to get back into the habit with only a little bit of a push … usually a very bad or expensive supermarket loaf is all it takes!!

  2. How happy am I. I just recognised this kitchen …. checked my Twitter account (I don’t go there very often!!) I ‘Follow you’ both and yes two of my favourite foodie people are an item.

    Duh!! How long has it taken me to figure this out. Brilliant :-)

    You may delete/not publish this comment if you want. I was just SO happy to find this out :-) :-) :-)

  3. I didn’t think you should ever use water from the hot tap for eating or drinking – maybe to do with sitting in a tank?? Also did you know a lot of supermarkets – certainly my local Asda and Tesco will let you have fresh yeast free from the bakery department.

    • It’s being baked for almost an hour, I reckon any nasties in the water will be killed off (I’ve certainly never been sick from hot water) – but if you’re worried just boil some water half an hour before and let it cool down again…

      • Interesting Q&A here, thank you for sharing. I tend to use either / or – it’s a mix of laziness and time constraints here – if I have some boiled water left over because I’ve forgotten to make a coffee I’ll use that (setting up my own freelance business & my brain likes going off on tangents, hence why I’ve landed up here again!), if not good old hot tap will do. I don’t have a water tank though, just an ancient combi boiler on its last year or so, plus I live in a very hard water area. Wonder if this affects my bread success / fails ratio? It usually turns out fine either way, and much like Jack mentions, I too have never been ill from something homemade, only takeaways, which I no longer eat (I think I’m pretty low on the salt / MSG / sugar tolerance because if I make the same thing at home to a me-friendly recipe I’m generally fine. A couple of my neighbours have similar intolerances and it’s a very nice little corner of the world.) Him Indoors on the other hand loves McDonalds and KFC but they do not love him back (he’s just had surgery to remove his gallbladder at the “ripe old age” of 30 and has had to go practically vegan over the last year. Now to adjust his thinking about wants, already gots, and needs. Wish me luck. Love your site Jack, have some free smiles and good karma points from the Isle of Wight. Please come to Bestival and do a cooking demo sometime (if you have any spare time these days!)

      • Re: using hot tapwater for consumption. It’s not bacteria that are an issue — it’s the potential for lead from plumbing. Hot water tends to leach lead more effectively from lead pipes, lead joint solder, etc., and hot water sitting around even more so. It’s definitely an issue here in the US, and googling suggests it is in the UK as well, probably esp. in older areas. (And of course boiling water does nothing to remove the lead content. And lead won’t make you sick right away; it’s neurotoxic and builds up over time in your body.)

        I just leave out my teakettle with (cold) tapwater in to warm up to room temp. This also has the benefit of letting any chlorine evaporate before I expose the yeast to it.

    • Kate
      The Breadmaker is the easy option,but the reason I enjoy Jacks receipes is because this is waht she went through, no fancy gadgets but old fashion cooking. We have become cooks with gadgets, including myself andfd they sit in a cupboard used only once and occasionally when entertaining. I am sure that Jack can now hve all the gadgets going but I do not think she will forget the reason behind her book to give people like me to understand simple cooking is best.
      Come on Kate ditch the breadmaker and start Kneading.
      Please do not feel offended by my comments.

      • Not in the least offended BigE…I do make bread from scratch fairly often and love the theraputic effects of kneading bread….however as a full time carer there are times when I don’t have the time or energy and I would far rather turn to my trusty breadmaker for bread that I know will be wonderful and know exactly what is in it…I havnt bought a supermarket loaf in years…can you say the same?….gadgets are not the devil you know…just there to make life easier!..I only suggested it as Jack can probably afford one now and with time issues its a better option than buying supermarket bread.

    • Kate just noticed your profile picture . the cake looks very impressive and my daughter would agree. I guess that you made it, who am I to tell you how to make bread (lol).

      • TeeHee…yep I did make it…from scratch of course from Grandmas recipe!…..you might find the name CookaholicKate is a bit of a giveaway too!!…..really into healthy, wholefood,organic, homegrown cook from scratch…and a BIG Jack fan!…I really must get back to blogging…but unlike Jack Im not as good at that…Id rather be in the kitchen!!!

      • Kate
        You have made my day, not only do you make cakes and bake bread ( Can we have grandmas baking receipe)

        You are more then good ( Impressed) I hang my head down in shame now (lol)
        Take Care

      • Aw thanks BigE …that’s really sweet of you…..I wouldn’t dream of highJacking (excuse the pun!) Jacks blog with my recipes but I have posted the recipe on my wordpress blog named CookaholicKate if you want to find it! x

  4. Always love people, especially women who can bake a damn fine loaf. Wholemeal Bread with nuts & seeds is not just a food, it is a superfood.

  5. Jack, would love to have a meaningful chat with you someday, as I have a few questions. Anyway, good that you stay well away from my BS. Just a thought, but rather than sitting next to Ed Miliband at the Labore Party Do, they are promoting. Would much rather have a chat with you any-day.

  6. When making bread with fast acting yeast it really isn’t necessary to use warm water, cold water (as recommended by Paul Hollywood) works perfectly well. I bake a variety of loaves every two days and always use cold tap water.

  7. Damn you Jack lol this is just to tempting! time to purchase a dough hook for my antique mixer, they still do them even though it’s 41 years old. Arms and hands won’t hack a good dough kneading session anymore, it’ll pay for itself soon enough I reckon :D

  8. Dear Jack I have an even EASIER bread recipe that absolutely never fails.
    Always try to bake a loaf if staying with friends to spread the joy of breadmaking story.
    Rather than giving the recipe you can find it on my blog, annabuckley.com

  9. Does it really work with plain flour not bread flour? I assume you wrote plain flour on purpose, because you have a way with words, but I’m a little nervous about not using the “proper” stuff.

  10. Jack..just a query…you don’t seem to have proved your loaf a second time which I have always done when bread making by hand?…..although I can remember baking bread with Grandpa and I don’t think he did either…..?..,,always happy to learn new tricks and save a bit of time!

  11. This looks great, not having all the ingredients, I decided to try a different loaf. I still had fennel from when I made the roasted cauliflower, fennel and brambles apple soup. I love cauliflower and would eat a whole head of it easy. Anyway there are loads of tomatoes here so I chopped up a tomato then maybe a tbsp- don’t know just knocked it out of jar mix with 300g plain flour, 7g dried yeast and half baby bottle of lemon juice and warm water. Kneed for ten mins left for half hr cooked for 40 mins at 180. Thought it was lovely.

  12. ‘agirlcalledjack’ seems to have almost disappeared? On your hols or doing something more interesting??

  13. Such a fab, easy & versatile recipe, and now a favourite at home! I vary my use of normal flour and strong flour and despite that it always comes out beautifully! Yesterday I sprayed some water on the loaf, covered it with seeds (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame), then scored & dusted it before baking. Heaven!

  14. Hi Jack,
    Followed the recipe and surprise, surprise. It’s an awesome loaf. So easy & I was always slightly reluctant to knead bread. Keep up the great work and maybe the FaceBook suspension was because of “Food Porn”!?
    The book is great as well.

  15. This bread recipe has finally made me get over my fear of baking bread! I’ve made it twice with great success. So easy and delicious… it really makes me think twice about buying bread. Thank you for sharing. :)

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