Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bread by Ariel

I hadn’t seen my oldest daughter, Ariel in over two years, so it was a nice surprise to have here visiting from California. For the last week, we’ve been catching up and cooking together which is a lot of fun because we’re very similar in the foods we like to eat.

What surprised me was that one of the first things she wanted to make was bread. These days, I eat very little bread unless it’s made with sprouted grains, or something really special. Well, the bread she made definitely fit that bill. She made it with wild-crafted nettles that she picked back home and dried, flax and sunflower seeds, garlic, thyme and Himalayan salt.

It was, by far, one of the best breads I’ve had in a long time, especially when it was sliced while still warm and smothered in butter. In fact, I made similar breads following her recipe for Mother’s Day and she made more bread last night!

To me, this is a real treat since it’s not something I would eat everyday but something we are thoroughly enjoying for this week. And because it’s homemade, it’s made with basic, whole-food ingredients, with nothing artificial and without preservatives or other chemicals. If you’re going to eat bread, this is the way to go!

The recipe is below and you can also watch Ariel make the bread in this video below:

Bread by Ariel

2 c warm water (~110°F)

1 T Himalayan or sea salt

1 T honey

1 package yeast

~5.5 c organic bread flour

¼ c flax seeds

dried nettles, or other dried, green leafy herb (optional)

¼ c sunflower seeds processed with 2 cloves garlic (optional)

fresh thyme (optional)

extra virgin olive oil

Begin by pouring the warm water into a large, glass mixing bowl. Add the yeast, salt, and honey and mix well. Allow the liquid to rest for a few minutes for the yeast to become active.

Add ~2.5 cups of the flour to the bowl and mix with a spatula to incorporate most of the flour, then add another 3 cups of flour.

With oiled hands, combine the mixture until the flour is completely incorporated and it forms a soft dough that is not sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured surface and knead the dough for 5 minutes by folding one corner over diagonally and kneading. Then rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat this process for the entire kneading time.

Place the round of dough into a clean, oiled bowl and transfer some of the oil onto the dough. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry cloth and place the bowl in a warm place for 1 – 2 hours to allow the dough to double in size.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Punch down the dough and knead it several times to remove any air bubbles. Knead flax seeds and dried nettles into the dough until incorporated.

Split the dough in half with a knife, then form loaves. Place the loaves onto a large baking pan coated with corn meal or oil.

Make several slices into the bread and stuff them with the sunflower seed, garlic, thyme and sea salt mixture. Bake the breads for ~30 minutes, or until they are nicely browned all over and sound hollow when tapped. Allow the breads to cool on a wire rack. Slice and Enjoy!!

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