Sunday, December 30, 2012

Closer to Home - Greek Olive Bread

The latest diet craze - the Mediterranean diet - strikes me as very strange. Not the diet itself, but rather the whole idea of a 'diet' based on the most popular components of the foods eaten in this area. The reason it is strange to me, of course, is because this is the kind of food I eat all the time. Let's think about it for a minute. What is this 'diet'? Well, it all starts with what Rachel Ray calls, EVOO, in other words Extra Virgin Olive Oil. From there, it really depends on where you are in the Mediterranean Basin. For instance, think of Italian food, and you think of tomato sauce and pasta. Think of French food from Provence, then you must include, sharp cheeses, red wine and lots of herbs. Actually, when you think of it, Italian food, Spanish food and all North African food, also includes herbs, olive oil and spices (often very spicy!). Lately I've been baking all kinds of dishes (quiches, pies and breads) from this area. This is all in preparation for some workshops I will be teaching this summer on Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands.

This bread is fairly typical of breads from the entire region. It includes olive oil, and even feta cheese, in some versions. It takes a long time to rise in the winter but in the summer will rise quickly. Unlike many breads from the Eastern Mediterranean, it has yeast to help it rise. Many breads from this area are flatbreads, like the famous pita bread found all over the Mediterranean and Middle East in one form or another. This recipe makes one fairly large loaf and keeps really well for several days. The addition of olives and feta give it a distinctly Middle eastern flavor. Needless to say, it makes great sandwiches especially with a sharp cheese, or with some kind of smoked meat. And mustard, good strong dijon mustard.

Here's What You'll Need:

1 onion thinly sliced
1Tbs. olive oil
1 cup pitted and chopped green or black olives
400g (3 cups) bread flour
3/4tsp salt
about 150g (5oz) drained and crumbled feta cheese
2tsp instant yeast
1Tbs chopped oregano, coriander, parsley and/or mint
1 cup hot (45C/120F) water

Here's What You'll Need to Do:

1. Fry the onion in the olive oil until lightly browned. Roughly chop the olives.

2. Put the flour, salt, yeast and herbs in a large bowl with the olives and fried onions and feta cheese, and pour in 1 cup hot water (not boiling - about 45C or 120F).

3. Mix the dough until it comes together. Then place on a lightly-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and just barely sticky. Add flour or water as necessary to get the correct feel.

4. Put in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover. Leave it to rise until doubled, about 2 hours (the onions and olive will weigh it down).

5. Preheat the oven to 220C (425F). Lightly grease a baking sheet, then shape the dough into a tight boule. Leave it lightly covered to rise again until doubled.

6. Just before baking, slash the bread with a sharp knife, about 1/2 in (3mm) deep.

7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until it is a deep rich brown. Serve with unsalted butter, or as part of a meze table. That's the small salads and dips that you find everywhere in this area. In Spain called tapas, in Greece, meze.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Boule - My own recipe for Accidental Sourdough

We have all had this experience, I'm sure. The happy circumstance where you do something, not intentionally, and despite all the indications of failure... it actually works out. So here's what happened. But first a little background to fill you in. I read a lot of cookbooks as you might imagine. All kinds but especially baking books. No biggie there. And, everything I read seems to have the same message and that is... if you want to be a real bread baker, you've got to make/bake sourdough. I'm not sure I buy this argument, but it's out there for sure. What everyone calls artisan/sourdough bread today is what my grandparents called 'bread'. It was all sourdough made with a poolish starter (very wet, often 100% hydration) or a biga (basically dough allowed to ferment before you knead it in with the rest of the dough). And, yes, you can be a purist and only use wild yeast which happens to be floating in your kitchen, or give it a boost with a minute amount of commercial yeast. All in order to get the distinctive sour taste and chewy crust of sourdough bread.

So this bread is a little of both born by accident. Here's what happened. I started a poolish (1 cup AP flour + 1 cup water + a pinch of commercial yeast, and left it covered, at room temperature for 8 hours. The problem is I forgot about it and went to bed and left it overnight. Then I got really busy and left it another day. By the time I got to it, it was 48 hours later!! it was bubbling away very, but very vigorously. I almost threw it out. But am I glad I didn't. The bread I made is so good, with the chewy crust and tight but soft crumb, I will surely make it again. This one is a keeper. Accidental sourdough.

Here's What You'll Need: (for the starter)
1 cup AP flour
1 cup warm water
a pinch of yeast

Mix to make a very wet slurry, like a thick cake batter, then cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature, for 48 hours!

1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
1-2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
11/2 tsp. salt

Mix it all together, along with the starter to make a ragged dough. Finally add the salt and knead for about 10 minutes (6 minutes in a mixer) until smooth and only slightly sticky. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, then cover to rise until doubled in volume. This will take quite a while since there is only a little yeast, maybe 3 hours.

Finally shape the dough into a boule, being careful not to deflate the dough, and place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper (or a baker's peel), cover and let is rise until doubled again.

About 30 minutes before baking time preheat the oven, with a baking stone, to 450F (220C). Just before placing the dough in the oven, slash it with a sharp, serated knife, and spray the loaf and the oven with water.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until it is a very dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Cool on a rack.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Honey Hoagie Rolls with a Twist - Perfect for Thanksgiving

Hoagie rolls for Thanksgiving? So, here's the deal. I was looking for some kind of bread for the holiday that would be great for soaking up the sauces and gravies of a big, festive meal, like Thanksgiving. Something that could double for snack time while watching a big game on TV. Here, in Israel we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving, but there are lots of games on TV. Only its usually soccer or basketball. Still, snack food is a must. And these sandwiches, an adaptation of a few recipes I have used for years fits the bill perfectly. They are soft and strong. Soak up whatever, and hold the fillings! Oh, in case you haven't noticed my 'healthy' trend lately, they are super healthy. I mean, bran and toasted wheat germ for goodness sake! This bread can be shaped as small rolls for a dinner, or larger for a hoagie-type roll, or even a loaf. I have made the hoagie roll. You can probably get about a dozen rolls, or maybe 4 hoagies. Or a loaf. Any way you look at it, though, it's just delicious!

Here's What You'll Need:
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup wheat bran (optional)
2 1/2 cups AP flour (or 2 cups AP flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
2 Tbs. honey (or dark brown sugar)
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbs. softened butter
3/4 cup warm water

Here's What You'll Need to Do:

1. Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water and place aside for about 10 minutes until nice and bubbly.

In the meantime...
2. Place the wheat germ in a dry frying pan and warm while tossing lightly in the pan. After a minute or two you will smell the toasty smell of the wheat germ. Remove from the heat and put aside.

3. In a large bowl, place the flour(s), bran (if using), toasted wheat germ, and salt and stir to combine. Then, add the yeast mixture, along with the softened butter, honey (or sugar), and the warm water.

4. Mix to form a shaggy dough, then knead vigorously to make a soft but very smooth dough. This will take 10 minutes by hand or around 5 minutes in a stand mixer.

5. Place in an oiled bowl to rise, covered, until doubled in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

6. Being careful not to deflate too much, shape the dough into a loaf. If you are making rolls, then divide the dough into the number of pieces required, then roll them into shape. The rolls will deflate more that the loaf, don't worry.

7. Cover the rolls (or loaf) to rise a second time, this time about 45 minutes.

8. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for: 17 minutes (rolls) or 25-30 minutes (loaf). Brush with melted butter, if desired while still hot, then cool on a rack.
 Bon Appetit!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bread of a Snacky Kind - Crispy, but Soft Pretzels


I have been considering this for a long time and only just now got up the courage. I know that sounds a little dramatic, and, truthfully, maybe I'm overdoing it a little. Still, here goes. Normally I post a recipe and some small reminiscence of a childhood memory associated with the recipe. Like, the famous Bernie's Bakery in Sydney, NS. This time it's different. I think I have mentioned that I like to snack. In fact, it's a bit of an embarrasment that with all my healthy baking that sometimes I just crave a salty snack. So... how to combine the two? Well, here is my first attempt at pretzels, baked with whole wheat and, of course, lots of kosher salt. Honestly? I will have to make them again, and again. My one comment, aside from the fact that they were delicious, is that you should remember to store them in a paper bag. Otherwise, and this happened to me, they become soft like a roll, instead of staying crispy like a good pretzel.

This recipe uses whole wheat and AP flour in combination to allow for gluten development. Also, and this is what separates a good pretzel from a so-so pretzel, they are boiled in water with baking soda added. Well worth the effort, believe me. Try these and you will never eat store-bought pretzels again.

Here's What You'll Need: (for 8 pretzels)
200g (about 1 3/4 cups) whole wheat flour
230ml (8 ounces) warm water
1 Tbs. butter, softened
180g (about 1 1/2 cups) AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
1 tsp. barley malt (or demerara sugar)

Water Bath
2 L (8 cups) water in which is dissolved 2 Tbs. baking soda

1 egg beaten with some water
kosher salt and seeds for topping

Here's What You'll Need To Do:

1. Whole wheat flour needs extra time to absorb the liquid (and it also absorbs more liquid) than AP flour. So, mix the whole wheat flour with the water, then cover it and let it stand for about 20 minutes.

2. Then mix in all the remaining ingredients, and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes. The dough will be smooth and just barely sticky. Place it in a bowl, covered, and let it rest and rise until doubled. This will take at least an hour. Maybe longer. Remember, bread is patience. If you hurry it, you get bad bread.

3. Preheat the oven to 220C (450F), and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Pour the water in a largish pot, and bring to a boil. Add in the baking soda.

5. Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized pieces, then roll out into 'snakes'. Fold the dough into a pretzel form by twisting and folding it over on itself. Then place the pretzel on a tray to rest for about 10 minutes.

6. Finally, gently place each pretzel in the post of boiling water (not a violent boil, but bubbling). Boil the pretzels for about 2-3 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the process. They will swell up appreciably in the water. Then place the boiled pretzels (with a slotted spoon) back on the baking paper.

7. When you have finished with all the pretzels, brush with the egg wash, then sprinkle with kosher salt, and/or seeds if you prefer.

8. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are a deep brown and quite crispy.

Cool on a rack, but they are also delicious served while still warm. Store in a paper bag!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

'White' & Fluffy Dinner Rolls - With Whole Wheat Flour

As you all must have figured out by now, I am a great fan of the King Arthur Flour website. I collect and try their recipes. I read their reviews. I ask questions on the forums (or is it fora?) And so, imagine my surprise when, a few weeks ago I received mail from Laura, one of their baking experts concerning a question I had posted a long time ago. Truthfully, I had forgotten that I even had posted the question. It went something like this... I would like to bake soft and fluffy dinner rolls using whole wheat flour. I have tried and tried and, while they are always delicious, they also have all the hallmarks of a whole wheat bread: just slightly dense, and just slightly heavy. How can I bake rolls that are light and fluffy with whole wheat flour? The answers went back and forth with all kinds of suggestions. But the best answer, and one that actually worked, is this one. By way of KAF, and adapted from another bread baking blog, these are dinner rolls made from 'white' whole wheat flour. And maybe the best rolls I've ever baked. Thanks again, KAF!

Here's What You'll Need:
 for the Tangzhong (relax, I'll explain)
1/2 cup water
1/6 cup (2 1/2 Tbs) whole wheat flour

Mix the flour and water together into a paste, then heat it slowly in a pot until it starts to thicken, like a roux.  Like vanilla pudding.


2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp+2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
All of the tangzhong*
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)

*Tangzhong - a Chinese method of cooking the flour and water before adding it to recipes for baked goods.

Mix this until combined, then, in a mixer, mix vigorously with a dough hook, for a long time until the dough will pass the window-pane test. My dough took 20 minutes! Finally, place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise for at least 2 hours. It may not double, but will be puffy.

Divide the dough into 10 equal-sized pieces and tighten them into rolls. Cover and let rise a second time, about an hour.

About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Bake for 17 minutes or until a deep brown. Cool on a rack. I guarantee these are the best rolls you will ever make. I have already added them to my list of special breads!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dark Brown and Soft Restaurant Dinner Rolls

I don't get to restaurants very often. Not nearly enough, to tell you the truth. Still, when I do go, I always check out the bread basket. You know the one. The basket of rolls and other home-baked goodies they bring you before the meal. To eat while you wait for your order to arrive. Filled with dinner rolls, made with white flour, or whole wheat or even rye. And with all kinds of decorations, like sesame seeds and so forth. The ones that intrigue me are the rolls that are dark brown in color, with a not too chewy crust, and soft on the inside. And for a while now I have been looking for a recipe to 'duplicate' these rolls. At last I think I have found one... This recipe is adapted from one I found in a new cookbook I have acquired Whole Grain Baking from King Arthur Flour, another in a long line of really informative cookbooks from KAF. These guys really know baking! Their site is great, replete with recipes, forums and even video lessons, you should definitely check them out.

The rolls are soft, and very dark (thanks to the cocoa powder, which, btw, you can barely taste), and very attractive. However like all small breads, these rolls tend to dry quickly, and so should be eaten right away. That is never a problem!

Here's What You'll Need:
1 cup (250 ml) warm water
1/3 cup orange juice
4 Tbs (60g) softened butter or margarine
1/3 cup honey (or other sweetener like silan - date honey)
2 1/4 cups (250g) whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups (270g) AP flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
3 Tbs (45g) sugar
2 Tbs (30g) cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp instant yeast

Here's What You'll Need To Do:

Mix together ALL the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix thoroughly. If using a mixer, use the dough hook at medium speed for about 7 or 8 minutes.

 If kneading by hand, then knead for longer, like about 12 minutes. The dough should be soft and smooth, and just barely sticky.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover and let it rise until doubled, about 2 hours.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide into about 10 equal-sized pieces. Place the rolls on a parchment covered baking sheet and cover to proof again, about 45 minutes.

About 20 minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Bake the rolls for about 15 minutes, until just slightly browned on the bottom. Cool on a rack.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bet You Can't Eat Just One - Onion Crackers

I have a weakness, and I may as well come clean. I love to snack, and I can't help myself. And in the great debate over sweet or salty snacks... I definitely come down on the side of salty. I especially love (but really love!) potato chips, pretzels, etc. And crackers. And when I can top off a crispy, salty cracker with a slice of a good sharp cheese, say some aged cheddar then there's no stopping me. That's why, I rarely make crackers and why there are so few cracker recipes on BreadmanTalking. I'd probably eat them all before I could take the pictures. That said, last week I was tempted once again, and gave in ... These onion crackers are adapted from a recipe I found in Bernard Clayton's incredible book Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads. The book is sooo comprehensive. It has literally everything you could ever want. If you're looking for a single bread cookbook, easy to read and use, this is it! It is also at least loosely based on a memory I have of a kind of cracker I used to eat many years ago when growing up in Cape Breton.With a thick slab of a nice sharp cheddar. In previous posts I have mentioned the bakery from my childhood home. Bernie's Bakery. The name practically makes me salivate all by itself!. Bernie was a Polish immigrant who specialized in all the East European breads and crackers. I can still see the Ukrainians, Poles, Russians and Jews lined up out the door on Sunday morning for dark and light rye, along with North American specialties like, cinnamon buns. And crackers like these.

Here's What You'll Need:
2 Cups  (280g) AP flour (or substitute 2/3 C (160g) whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs poppy seeds
1 egg at room temperature
1/3 Cup oil
1 Cup chopped onions
2 Tbs water (if needed)
Here's What You'll Need To Do:

For this recipe, you will need two bowls, just like for a cake, one for wet and one for dry. Mix all the dry ingredients together in one bowl,

and in the second bowl mix the egg, oil and onions. The onions will likely be 'weeping' and so the amount of liquid will determine if you need the water. Obviously, it's better to leave the onion juice in so you get more flavor. If you drain them and add water instead the onion flavor will be less intense. Why would you do that?

Slowly pour the onion mixture into the flour mixture, stirring vigorously. This dough will be quite stiff, but should not be crumbly. If it is, add a little water, one teaspoon at a time. In the unlikely event that the dough is too wet, add a little flour, one teaspoon at a time. Remember, this is a cracker, not a loaf of fluffy bread. Knead for a few minutes to make it smooth and evenly distributed, then place in an oiled bowl, covered, to relax in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).

Roll the dough out on parchment paper until very thin, about 1/8in (2mm). Using a pizza cutter, or a fluted pasta cutter, cut the dough into cracker sized pieces, then, with a fork, poke holes in each cracker. This prevents them from puffing up during baking (a definite no no!).

Bake for about 10 minutes (it will be longer if the dough is wetter) until crisp and golden. They will be less crisp, but just as tasty, if you used whole wheat flour. Cool on a rack, and then, try and control yourself! I couldn't.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Something simple and delicious - soft dinner rolls

Sometimes the simplest breads are the ones that give you the greatest pleasure. It's a fact. Sometimes, when your supper consists of nothing more than a nice, thick bowl of soup, or maybe a green, crisp salad filled with all kinds of goodies, the only thing you need to go along with it is a soft, dinner roll. To sop up the soup, maybe. Or the juices from the salad. Not only are rolls like this ideal for simple meals, they are also very easy to make! This recipe is loosely based on two other recipes I found online, from Chef John at and Laura Vitali at and includes a few of my own touches. About 2 hours from start to finish they will surely become part of your repertoire!

Here's what you'll need:
Start with 2 1/4 tsp. of instant yeast dissolved in 1/4 C of warm water. Put it on the side until it starts to bubble (about 10 minutes).

In the meantime, take 1 C of milk and add 3 Tbs of butter to it. Heat this on the stovetop or in the microwave until the butter melts. Put it on the side to cool. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast when we add it in.

Mix together, 1 beaten egg, 2 Tbs sugar, 3/4 tsp salt and 1 C flour. Add this to the yeast mixture along with the milk and melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Then add another cup of flour, and mix it, now using a spatula as it gets thicker. Finally, add another cup of flour (3 in total) to get a soft, sticky dough. Place this dough on a floured board and knead it gently, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking, for 6 or 7 minutes. When it is smooth and elastic, place it in an oiled bowl, and cover, to rise until doubled. This will take maybe an hour and a half or even two hours.

Finally, divide the dough into about 12 equal-sized pieces, and shape them into balls. Place them in a baking pan about 3mm (1/2 in) apart, and cover for the final proofing, about 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350F (180C). Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown. To add extra richness, you could brush the rolls with melted butter, when they emerge from the oven and while still hot.
I guarantee you will never buy store bought dinner rolls again after you try these rolls!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ciabatta - An Old Slipper for Steak Sandwiches

I don't know about you, but when I make a steak sandwich, I need the bread to be chewy and just slightly sour. I have tried all different kinds of bread, everything from white sandwich bread ( a mistake!!) to baguette (better but not there yet) to ciabatta. Hands down the best bread for a steak sandwich (or for that matter any grilled meat) is the Italian 'peasant' bread, which has become extremely popular in the last few years. The word means 'old slipper', the kind of old familiar, comfortable friend you have worn for years, that has lost it's shape a little but cannot be replaced. These breads, are really without a defined shape, and must be treated very delicately up until they are baked. Then, after they have cooled, they are soooo chewy, and filled with holes (for mustard, olive oil etc.) they are truly second to none. This recipe is adapted from the wonderful cookbook by Ciril Hitz, Baking Artisan Breads, 10 Expert Formulas for Baking Better Bread at Home. It is a cookbook intended for those who want to bake incredible bread at home, using regular ingredients, and without the intent of turning you into a professional baker. Just someone who appreciates good, but really good, bread.

When you mix this dough, it is so wet, you might think you have made a mistake. You have not!!! After mixing you literally pour the dough into a greased bowl to rise and ferment. Be gentle, adding only as much flour as necessary to fold or manipulate the dough. Finally, bake in a hot oven, on a stone if you have one, and you won't be sorry. BTW, Jamie Oliver, in one of his early episodes , makes a steak sandwich that is to die for. No doubt, he used these ciabattas!

Here's what you'll need:
for the poolish (starter);
330g (11 oz) bread flour
330 ml (11 oz) water at room temperature
a pinch of instant yeast

Mix these ingredients together until it is all incorporated. At 100% hydration it will be VERY wet. Not to worry. Pour it into a bowl, cover, and leave it to ferment at room temperature for 16 hours (or overnight).

the next day...

Add these ingredients: (to the starter)
613g (21.5 oz) bread flour
405 ml (14 oz) water at room temperature
1/2 tsp. instant yeast
18g (1Tbs) salt

Mix it all together, until completely incorporated then mix (beat!) vigorously for about 10 minutes. The dough will be very soft. Place it in an oiled bowl and cover to rise, about 2 hours. At 45 minute intervals, stretch and fold the dough over itself and return to the bowl. It is easier to wet you hands, to keep it from sticking.

At the end of the rise, pre-heat the oven to 480 F (240C).

Place the dough on a heavily-floured cloth or baker's peel, and cut it, using a dough scraper into fairly even pieces. Let the cut pieces rest, and proof for an additional 30 minutes or so before baking. Be careful not to degas the pieces of dough. Handle with care!

Bake for 35 minutes or until dark golden brown and the surface is blistery. Cool on a rack.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Uptown Whole Grain Bread

You can probably guess that I have a thing for whole grain breads, and whole grain baking in general. We all know it's healthier, because of fiber and B-Vitamins etc. I also just happen to love the full earthy flavor of the wheat itself. And so, I am always looking out for 'new' recipes or techniques, and to try different ideas I read about. One of my favorite places to go when I am trolling for whole grain recipes is King Arthur Flour, where you can find thousands of great recipes from people who really, but really understand baking. Also they have great forums where you can ask questions or get advice on how to make your baking even better. Two of my favorite baking cookbooks are Whole Grain Baking from their print shop, and Baking Artisan Bread, by Ciril Hitz, a certified Master Baker and instructor in their school. The one thing I love about both books is the straightforward and easy-going style of writing. And, of course, the instructions, which are always dead-on! Either or both are highly recommended for any serious bread baker.

This bread is slightly adapted from Baking Artisan Bread. To maximize flavor, start today, and bake tomorrow using a biga, or rather rubbery starter favored in Italian-type bread (which this is not).

Here's What You'll Need: (for the biga)
bread flour 180g (1 1/3C)
water  107 ml. (1/2 C)
Instant Yeast 1/3 g (1 1/4 tsp.)

Mix all the ingredients together for 4 or 5 minutes in a mixer at medium speed. Then place in an airtight container for at least 2 hours. The flavor will be more developed if you leave it overnight, so if you decide to go that way, after 2 hours, gently degas the biga, and place it back in the container. Let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.

for the dough:
whole wheat flour 657g (5 1/2C)
water 462 ml. (2C)
honey 52 ml. (2 1/2 Tbs.)
instant yeast 2.5g (3/4 tsp.)
salt 16g (3 tsp.)
all of the biga from yesterday
various seeds - sunflower, pumpkin etc. 150g (1C)

Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer and mix for about 5 minutes at medium speed.

Then place in a lightly-oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover for the first rise, about 2 hours. During this time, about every 45 minutes, remove the dough from the bowl, stretch it and fold it over itself, without kneading. This helps develop the gluten without making the bread too chewy.

At the end of this time, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, gently shape into a log, and, if desired, roll the dough in oat flakes (see photo). Place the dough in a loaf pan and cover lightly to rest and rise about 45 minutes. It should just peak over the top of the pan.

Bake for about 40 minutes, with steam at 180C (350F). To develop the crust, you can remove the bread from the pans for an additional 5-10 minutes in the oven directly on the oven rack, or even on a baking stone. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.