So nice to be reunited with my brother, who usually can be found in Ohio but today coincides with me in space and time in Portland, Oregon. I came to town to see family for the fourth of July and to collect my long lost starter from my mother who graciously babysat it whilst I traipsed England. There it was waiting for me in her fridge with a new sticker.
My mother is, indeed, the baking diva.
Adapted from Cook’s Country April 2013
Makes one 10-inch loaf
2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups (19 1/4 ounces) bread flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 tablespoons raw, unsalted pepitas (divided)
3 tablespoons raw, unsalted sunflower seeds (divided)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 large egg, lightly beaten with a little water to dilute it
1. Grease large bowl. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine water, cereal, honey, and oil and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add flour, salt, and yeast to cereal mixture. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 6 minutes. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the mixing bowl after 2 minutes, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, up to 3 tablespoons. Add 2 tablespoons pepitas and 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds to dough and knead for 1 minute longer. Turn out dough onto lightly floured counter and knead until seeds are evenly distributed, about 2 minutes.
3. Transfer dough to greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size and fingertip depression in dough springs back slowly, 60 to 90 minutes.
4. Gently press down on center of dough to deflate. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and shape into tight round ball. Place dough into a clothe-lined banneton. Cover dough loosely floured cloth and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
5. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lowest positions and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon pepitas, remaining 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds in small bowl. Using sharp knife, make ¼-inch-deep cross, 5 inches long, on top of loaf. Brush loaf with egg and sprinkle seed mixture evenly over top.
6. Place 8½ by 4½-inch loaf pan on lowest oven rack and fill with 1 cup boiling water (this is key—I forgot to do it, and the crust was much thinner as consequence). Place bread on a baking stone and reduce oven to 375 degrees. Bake until crust is dark brown and bread registers 200 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes.