Yes, this 3-pound, seeded, very attractive loaf seems to call for everything but the kitchen sink, but it's worth it! Not only is it high in fiber, but the blend of seeds and grains lends it a wonderfully nutty flavor, aroma and texture. The boule is baked in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven or similar ovenproof casserole dish. A heavy container with a tight-fitting lid works best, as the steam trapped inside the pot helps crisp the crust. Keep in mind that in a very wide-bottomed pot the loaf will spread out and be fairly flat; in a taller, narrower one it will be thicker and have more height (and may take slightly longer to bake through). Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
1 very large loaf, 16 slices
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 24 hours
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice, preferably brown basmati
2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, plus 3 tablespoons, divided
2 cups unbleached bread flour, (see Note), plus more as needed
1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
4 tablespoons roasted pepitas, or sunflower seeds, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons instant, quick-rising or bread-machine yeast
2 1/2 cups ice water, (see Tip), plus more as needed
3 tablespoons clover honey, or other mild honey
2 tablespoons liquid egg substitute, or 1 beaten egg white, for glazing
Mix dough: Grind rice in a blender or coffee mill (a food processor won’t work) until mostly powdery but with some fine bits remaining. Transfer to a 6-quart (or larger) bowl. Thoroughly stir in 2 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour, 2 cups bread flour, oats, wheat germ, 2 tablespoons each pepitas (or sunflower seeds), flaxseeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds, the salt and yeast. Thoroughly whisk 2 1/2 cups ice water and honey in a medium bowl. Vigorously stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides and mixing just until the dough is thoroughly blended. The dough should be moist and somewhat sticky, but fairly stiff. (The seeds will absorb moisture, stiffening the dough as it stands.) If the mixture is too dry, stir in just enough additional ice water to facilitate mixing, but don’t overmoisten. If the dough is too wet, stir in just enough bread flour to stiffen slightly. Lightly coat the top with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
First rise: Let the dough rise at room temperature (about 70°F) for 12 to 18 hours; if convenient, stir once partway through the rise. For convenience (and improved flavor), you may refrigerate the dough for 3 to 12 hours before starting the first rise.
Second rise: Generously coat a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven (or similar ovenproof pot) with oil. Coat the bottom and sides with 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour. Vigorously stir the dough to deflate it. If it is soft, stir in just enough flour to yield a firm but moist dough (it should be fairly hard to stir). Transfer the dough to the pot.
Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour over the dough; pat and smooth it in. Firmly tuck the sides underneath all the way around to form a round ball of dough; dust with more flour as needed. Brush the loaf with egg substitute (or egg white) and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons pepitas (or sunflower seeds) and 1 tablespoon each flaxseeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds over the top (it will be heavily coated). Using well-oiled kitchen shears or a serrated knife, cut two 1/2-inch-deep concentric circles in the top of the loaf, one about 2 1/2 inches out from the center, the other 3 1/2 inches out. Put the lid on the pot or tightly cover with foil.
Let rise at warm room temperature until the dough is double the deflated size, 1 1/4 to 2 1/4 hours. (For an accelerated rise, see Tip.)
20 minutes before baking: Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 475°F.
Bake, cool, slice: Reduce oven temperature to 450°. Lightly spritz or sprinkle the loaf with water. Bake, covered, on the lower rack until the top is lightly browned, 50 to 60 minutes. Uncover and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs on the tip (or until an instant-read thermometer registers 204-206°), 15 to 25 minutes longer. Cool in the pot on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn the loaf out on the rack and let cool to at least warm before slicing.
Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Wrap airtight and keep at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
Note: Milled from high-protein wheats, bread flour develops strong gluten, resulting in well-risen loaves. It helps give breads with a high percentage of whole grains better structure and a lighter texture. Find it near other flours in most supermarkets.
Tips: To prepare “ice water” for this recipe, add a heaping cup of ice cubes to cold water and stir for about 30 seconds before measuring out the water.
You can turn your microwave into a warm, moist environment to help accelerate the second rise of the bread dough. Begin by microwaving 1/2 cup water in a 1-cup glass measure just to boiling. Set the water in one corner of the microwave, place the pan of dough on the other side of the turned-off microwave and close the door. The dough will double in size in 45 minutes to 11/2 hours.
Per slice: 198 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrates; 7 g protein; 4 g fiber; 334 mg sodium; 154 mg potassium.