Whole Wheat Cumin Loaf
Whole Wheat Cumin Loaf
From Bread Alone (Canada, UK), by Daniel
Leader and Judith Blahnik.
Here is a dense spicy bread, perfect for savory
appetizers or to serve with highly seasoned dishes like
chili or curry.
3/4 cup spring water, 75°F (24°C)
1 tsp moist yeast or
1/2 tsp dry yeast
3/4 cup 20% bran wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, preferably coarse ground
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 large red onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2-1/4 cups spring water
1 tsp moist yeast or 1/2 tsp dry yeast
1 Tbsp fine sea salt
4-1/4 to 5-1/4 cups whole wheat flour, preferably medium
3 Tbsp cumin seeds, freshly crushed in a mortar or
Cornmeal, for dusting
Make and Ferment the Poolish: (allow 2 to 10 hours)
Combine the water and yeast in a medium bowl. Let
stand 1 minute, then stir with a wooden spoon until
yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and stir until the
consistency of a thick batter. Continue stirring for about
100 strokes or until the strands of gluten come off the
spoon when you press the back of the spoon against
the bowl. There will be lively bubbles on the surface.
Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap, and put
in a moderately warm (74°F to 80°F; 24°C to 27°C) draft-free place until it
is bubbly and increased in volume.
Prepare the Onions: (20 minutes includes cooling time)
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the
onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a plate, and place in the refrigerator to cool
Mix and Knead the Final Dough: (25 minutes)
the remaining ingredients and calculate the necessary
temperatures. Bring the bowl with the
poolish to your work space. The poolish should be
soupy, bubbly, and puffy and it should have a wheaty
aroma. Scrape the poolish into a 6-quart bowl. Add the
water and yeast. Break up the poolish with a wooden
spoon and stir until it loosens and the mixture foams
slightly. Add the salt, cooled onions, cumin, and
enough of the flour to make a thick mass that is difficult
Turn out onto a well-floured surface. Knead,
adding more of the remaining flour, until the dough is
soft and smooth, 15 to 17 minutes. The dough is ready
when a small amount, pulled from the mass springs
Ferment the Dough: (2 to 3 hours)
Shape the dough
into a ball and let it rest on a lightly floured surface
while you scrape, clean, and lightly oil the large bowl.
Place the dough in the bowl and turn the dough to coat
the top with oil. Take the dough's temperature: the ideal
is 78°F (26°C). Cover with a clean damp towel
or plastic wrap and put in a moderately warm (74°F-80°F
F.) draft-free place until doubled in volume.
Note: If the dough temperature is higher than 78°F,
put it in a cooler place like the refrigerator
until the dough cools to 78°F. If it is lower than 78°F,
put it in a warmer place until the dough
warms to 78°F. The point is to try to keep the dough at
78°F F. during its fermentation. If you do have to move
the dough, be gentle and don't jostle it, or the dough
may deflate. The dough has risen enough when a
finger poked 1/2 inch into the dough leaves an
Divide and Shape the Dough into Loaves: (10 minutes)
Deflate the dough by pushing down in the center and
pulling up on the sides. Transfer the dough to a lightly
floured work surface; knead briefly and cut into 2 equal
pieces. Flatten each with the heel of your hand using
firm direct strokes. Shape each piece into a tight ball.
Proof the Loaves: (1-1/2 to 2 hours)
Place the loaves
on a board that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
Cover with a clean damp towel or plastic wrap and put
in a moderately warm (74°F-80°F) draft-free place until
increased in volume about 1 to 1-1/2 times.
Bakes the Loaves: (40 minutes)
Forty-five minutes to 1
hour before baking, preheat the oven and homemade
hearth or baking stone on the center rack of the oven to 450°F (235°C). The oven rack
must be in the center of the oven. If it is in the lower
third of the oven, the bottoms of the breads may burn,
and if it is in the upper third, the top crusts may burn.
Using a very sharp, serrated knife or a single-edged
razor blade, score the loaves by making quick shallow
cuts 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep along the surface.
Using a well-floured peel, slip the loaves one at a time
onto the hearth and quickly spray the inner walls and
floor of the oven with cold water from a spritzer bottle. If
there's an electric light bulb in the oven, avoid spraying
it directly it may burst. Spray for several seconds until
steam has filled the oven. Quickly close the door to
trap the steam and bake 3 minutes. Spray again in the
same way, closing the door immediately so that steam
doesn't escape, and bake until loaves begin to color,
about 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F (205°C) F. and bake
until loaves are a rich caramel color and the crusts are
firm, another 15 to 20 minutes.
To test the loaves for doneness, remove and hold the
loaves upside down. Strike the bottoms firmly with your
finger. If the sound is hollow, the breads are done. if it
doesn't sound hollow, bake 5 minutes longer. Cool
completely on a wire rack.
Yield: Makes 2 round 10-inch loaves
From The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Bread Making
(Canada, UK), by Christine Ingram and Jennie Shapter.
This braided, attractively tapered loaf is known as
Zupfe in Switzerland. Often eaten on weekends, it has
a glossy crust and a wonderfully light crumb.
3 cups white flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 ounce fresh yeast
2 Tbsp lukewarm water
2/3 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup butter, softened
For the glaze:
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp water
Lightly grease a baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt
together into a large bowl and make a well in the
center. Mix the yeast with the water in a small bowl
Gently warm the sour cream in a small pan until it
reaches 98.6°F (37.5°C). Add to the yeast mixture and
Add the yeast mixture and egg to the center of the
flour and gradually mix into a dough. Beat in the
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for
5 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly
oiled bowl, cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let
rise, in a warm place, for about 1-1/2 hours or until
doubled in size.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and punch
down. Cut in half and shape each piece of dough into a
long rope about 14 inches in length.
To make the braid, place the two pieces of dough on
top of each other to form a cross. Starting with the
bottom rope, fold the top end over and place between
the two bottom ropes. Fold the remaining top rope over
so that all four ropes are pointing downward. Starting
from the left, braid the first rope over the second, and
the third rope over the fourth.
Continue braiding in this way to form a tapered
bread. Tuck the ends underneath and place on the
prepared baking sheet. Cover with lightly oiled plastic
wrap and let rise, in a warm place, for about 40
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Mix the egg
yolk and water for the glaze, and brush over the loaf.
Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden.
Cool on a wire rack.
Yield: Makes 1 loaf
From The Book of Greek Cooking (Canada, UK), by Lesley
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
7 cups bread flour
1 envelope active dry yeast (about 1 Tbsp)
2 tsp salt
About 1 cup warm water
1-1/3 cups ripe olives, pitted and chopped
In a skillet, heat oil. Add onion and cook until soft. Let
cool. Into a large bowl, sift flour. Stir in yeast and
salt. Add 2 Tbsp of the cooking oil and mix in
enough water to make a soft dough. Turn dough out
onto a floured surface.
Knead dough thoroughly 10 minutes or until smooth
and elastic. Knead in 1 Tbsp of the cooking oil,
the fried onion, reserving remaining oil, and chopped
olives. Cut dough in half and shape into 2 round
loaves. Place on lightly oiled baking sheets. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave in a warm
place 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
to 350°F (175°C). Brush loaves with a little of the
cooking oil. Bake loaves 30 to 40 minutes or until
bottom of each sounds hollow when tapped. Brush
tops of loaves with remaining oil. Return to the oven
2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
Yield: Makes 2 loaves