Like clockwork, September rolls around and I am baking bread again.
I know that most of September is still summer and September days can be some of the hottest, but for some reason this is the month I start to get back into baking, cozier foods and basically all the things I love about fall.
I am not ready to switch full on into fall (even though my weather up in the mountains has been fall-like for the past few weeks), but I figured some bread would be a good way to ease into fall-like things. Slow and steady – promise, no pumpkin for a while!
Plus, I really love baking bread… and the smells that come from the oven while baking. Nothing cozier, especially on a rainy, cold Sunday. I know it’s Tuesday, but I was baking this on Sunday and it was perfect.
So I know I am calling this “breakfast” bread, but it’s really a bread you can eat at any time. Use it for sandwiches (avocado + blue cheese please!), bake it fresh for dinner (and slather with buttah!) or slather it with butter and jam for breakfast… or some smashed avocado + jam. They are all delicious options.
Around here though, this is refereed to as “breakfast bread”.
Here’s the thing, bread is a big deal in my house. Ever since I can remember, we have always been a bread family. This is mostly because my mom loves bread. Well, really carbs of any kind and clearly she passed this trait on… to all seven of her kids. My dad loves good bread too, but not like my mom.
Ever since I can remember my mom has always eaten the same breakfast. Hot chocolate and toast. Actually, when I was younger, I think it was pumpernickel bagels, but at some point she switched to whole grain toast. Not white bread or anything like that, but really good whole grain, hearty toast. I like it with my dad’s fried eggs on the weekends, Asher eats it pretty much every morning (for snack, after school and a lot of times at dinner too) and come to think of it, so does my older brother Brendan. But at some point, Asher started calling it “breakfast bread” and the name just stuck.
I have to say, I have never seen a little kid eat so much whole grain bread in my life. You guys, I am telling you she lives off breakfast bread (and buttered noodles).
While the bread we buy is ok, but it’s nothing like fresh baked bread.
I really wanted to create a whole grain loaf that was light and crusty, but full of all the healthy things. I have actually tried so many times to achieve a bread similar to the one my mom buys from the store, but never had great results. So I kind of gave up for a while, but then September hit and I craved some fresh baked bread. I had baked a lot of bread last fall and picked up on a few tricks, so I gave those tricks a try and umm, hello!?!
They totally worked and this bread is the best “breakfast bread” ever. No really, ever!
I truly think the secret is baking the bread in a dutch oven. I know I said this last year when I was telling you guys about these pumpkin bread bowls, but I swear the dutch oven is the next best thing to a real brick oven. If you don’t have a dutch oven you can just bake this on a cookie sheet, it stills works great, but you just don’t get that awesome crust and it may be a bit denser.
I gotta say though, if you do not have a big old cast iron dutch oven, you should probably just go out and get one. I use mine all the time. It’s one of my favorite kitchen tools… and it’s pretty too!!
Other than the little dutch oven thing, this bread is easy peasy, super simple and I promise you can make it. Do not be afraid of bread. Bread is a good thing, a very good, and typically very easy, thing to make.
This recipe does require a preferment, but it’s just bread flour, water and yeast. Mix it together, let it sit overnight and then mix the final dough the next day. Super simple.
It’s so healthy! This Seeded Whole Grain Breakfast Bread is packed with whole wheat flour, oatmeal, ground flax and all kinds of seeds. I used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and black + white sesame seeds because I love them all, but feel free to use your favorite blends. But um, pumpkin seeds are my all time favorite, and probably the majority of the seeds I used here were pumpkin… so good.
Do you see what I am talking about though?? I mean look at that crust – light and airy holes throughout! And that crust!! The seeds make this bread, so very good and toasty! It’s honestly the most perfect bread.
Oh and are you a jam and toast person??
Seeded Whole Grain Breakfast Bread.
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey plus more for drizzling
- 1 1/2 cups warm water divided
- 1 cup old fashions oats
- 3 tablespoons ground flax
- 1 1/2 cups while wheat flour
- 1 1/4 cups bread flour plus more for kneading
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 cup mixed pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds, black and or white sesame seeds and flax seeds)
The night before baking the bread make the preferment. In the bowl of your stand mixer, mix together the flour, water and yeast until a smooth paste forms. Cover the bowl and allow the preferment to ripen at room temperature overnight. The preferment will double in size and become bubbly on top as it sits.
The next day measure out 1/4 cup warm water in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Add the yeast and honey. Mix to combine and then allow the mixture to sit, undisturbed for 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy on top and smells like bread. During the same time add the remaining 1 1/4 cups warm water to a bowl. Add the oats and ground flax. Allow this mixture to sit 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes add both the yeast mixture and oats mixture to the bowl with the preferment from the night before. Add the whole wheat flour, bread flour and salt. Using the dough hook, mix the dough on medium speed for 4-6 minutes. If the dough seems extremely sticky, add 1-2 tablespoons flour. Now add in 3-4 tablespoons of the mixed seeds. mix until combined.
Remove the dough from the bowl and knead with your hands on a floured surface for a minute or two.
Grease the bowl you mixed the dough in and place the dough back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat to the oven 450 degrees F. Place a 5-quart, or larger, cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid in the center of the rack. You may also use a baking stone, but I have found the the dutch oven with a lid works the best.
Punch the dough down with your fist and then scoop it out onto a floured work surface. Knead the dough a few times with your hands and then form the dough into rough oval or circle shape (if needed, you can divided the dough in half and make two loafs). Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise 20-30 minutes.
After 20-30 minutes, brush the dough with the beaten egg and then sprinkle with the remaining mixed seeds. Using a sharp knife, gently make a small slit down the center of the loaf. Drizzle the the seeds with 1-2 teaspoons honey.
When the dough is ready to bake, carefully remove the hot dutch oven from the oven using oven mitts and remove the lid. Very carefully, pick the dough up by the parchment paper and lift into the hot dutch oven. Using oven mitts, place the hot lid back on the pot and return to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F. Using oven mitts, remove the hot lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep, golden brown, about 15-20 minutes more. Remove from the oven. Using a thin handle of a spatula, carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. Don't slice into the bread right out of the oven, the bread continues to cook as it cools.
Or a butter and toast person? I am all about the jam (or smashed avocado + jam), but the fam loves their sweet cream butter.