Monday, February 20, 2012

Have a Heart

This is a super late Valentine's post (due to a trip to Monterey this past weekend), but you could use this idea for St. Patrick's Day by making three braids, coiling each into a circle, placing on the baking pan in a clover shape, and using a bit of dough cut off one end to make a stem for the clover. It would also make a fine triple braid loaf (well actually two triple braid loaves) if you are not into holiday celebration craftiness.

I made the Valentine's heart bread for Grandma L since she invited us for dinner on Valentine's day and she is more of a savory person than someone who likes sweets. She loved it and we ate about half of it with dinner.

I like that it is an easy dough to work with and that it has seeds throughout. There is also the goodness of oatmeal and whole wheat flour plus the happy use of sourdough starter for the leavening. Makes great toast, too. I was making the savory biscotti dough at the same time as this dough, so I put the seeded dough into the fridge for a day and a half which deepened the sourdough flavor and meant that I could bake it up fresh for the dinner party.

Yesterday I made the same dough again, but didn't retard it as long as Grandma's loaf. I also make enough for three loaves, each about a pound and a half. Two became long braids and one a braid coiled to fit a 9" cake pan.

As you can see, this is all about fun with delicious bread as the product.

I'm sending this over to Susan at Wild Yeast for the weekly Yeastspotting event. This is a wonderful weekly roundup of great yeast based recipes, and a few things made using bread. Do jump over there and check it out.

Sourdough Oatmeal and Whole Wheat Bread with Seeds

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup water
1 cup bread flour
1/3 cup water
all of the Poolish

2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup mixed seeds (I used King Arthur Ancient Grains which also includes some rolled grains) like sunflower, flax, poppy, sesame, pumpkin
all of the Second mixture
1/2 cup milk (I used 2% but any milk will do, even canned evaporated)
1/2 cup water

about 1/4 cup additional bread flour

Olive oil to oil rising container and plastic wrap

1 egg
1 teaspoon water

In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour and the whole wheat flour. Stir in the water until it is combined and fairly smooth. Stir in the sourdough starter and combine well. Let sit at room temperature about two hours. Tiny bubbles will form in the mixture.

In a microwave safe bowl combine the rolled oats and 1/3 cup water. Microwave on high one minute. Stir. Return to microwave and cook and additional two minutes. Set aside to cool.
When oatmeal is cool, break it up with a spoon. Take the Poolish mixture and stir in the flour, water and cooled oatmeal. Let sit on the counter 2 hours.

In a large bowl or measuring cup combine the bread flour, whole wheat flour, salt and seeds.
Place the Second mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk and water and beat on low speed with the paddle attachment to combine.

Switch to the bread hook and add the flour/seed mixture, about a 1/2 cup at a time, letting the dough form and climb the hook. As the dough becomes supple it will mostly clean the sides of the bowl. Use the additional flour, if needed, adding it about 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep the dough from slumping off the hook and into the bottom of the bowl. Knead 6 - 8 minutes or until dough is soft and supple.

Use olive oil to prepare a large bowl or container for letting the dough rise. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or a clean shower cap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Divide into two or three equal portions.

Each portion can be shaped as you wish, put in a pan if desired or put onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or Silpat mat. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and a tea towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Glaze the loaves with a wash made of one egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 20-35 minutes (depending on shape) until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the back. Let cool a bit before slicing into bread.


  1. Wow oh Wow... that is really glorious! Beautiful bread and such creativity making it special in so many ways.
    Hats off to you.

  2. It looks like you had a lot of fun shaping that heart loaf! Beautifully done, you bread-baking whiz!

  3. Elle,
    Your blog is such a find! Stumbled upon it while looking for images and recipes for Princess Cake.
    I'll be following your posts, such a joy! Thanks!

  4. Tanna, it really is fun to be creative with the dough and make pretty breads. Wish we were doing it together.

    Lynn, yep, fun, but wish we were doing it together, with Tanna, too.

    Judith, Thanks for visiting. Hope to see you again. Your blog is a treasure trove of creativity!