My mom was a hippie in her youth and lived in a rural community to boot. So, growing up, she taught me the virtues of making things from scratch and putting a lot of love in your food. So, it was only natural that I became somewhat of a foodie. I love to cook. And now that I work at home, if I have some spare time, you can usually find me somewhere near the kitchen. For Easter, I made a Rosemary Walnut bread to take to my friend Carolyn's house. It was delicious and sent me on a "mmm...bread" kick. (My mom's favorite bread to make was Oatmeal Molasses, so I have made that a few times, but never really experimented too much.)
However, newly revived from my Easter breadery, I decided to try some new things. I have a whole big bag of sunflower seeds in my kitchen so decided to search for a bread recipe with said seeds. I found the above link and thought I would give it a try. Below is my adapted recipe:
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (you can eyeball it)
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sunflower oil (you can get in any Whole Foods like store and is a great oil to cook with)
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (I used the zest of one Sunkist naval orange)
1/2 cup orange juice
2/3 cup Sunflower Kernels
2. Heat milk and margarine to 115 F (40 seconds in microwave) and put in a bowl. Add flour mixture to the milk. Add egg, orange peel and juice. Beat by hand or in a mixer at low speed 1-1/2 minutes; beat at high speed 3 minutes. ( I was sort of skeptical about the yeast rising, but it worked like a charm)
3. Stir in sunflower kernels by hand and add enough flour to make a soft dough (I used about 3-1/2 cups flour in total, but I think it would have been better with a little less).
4. Knead 10-12 minutes until the dough looks firm and smooth. Shape into a ball. Put about 1 Tablespoon of sunflower oil in a bowl, put the dough into the bowl, then turn the oiled side up. Cover bowl with heavy cloth. Let rise until doubled (Bread likes to rise in humid warm environments, which trust me, my kitchen is not. I made this funny contraption - seen below - where I set a big pot of water on the stove on low, so it is steaming, then but the bread above it. It works great)
5. Punch down and let rest 5 minutes. Shape into loaf and place in greased 8.5"x4.5"x2.5" loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk. You can brush the top of the loaf with 1 egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon water. I did not.
6. Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes (unlike my kitchen, my oven is super hot - like 75 - 100 degrees hot, so I got an oven thermometer). Let cool on a rack after removing from pan and dig in.
I really liked this bread. Fresh from the oven, it was amazing. Soft, but with a crunch from the sunflower seeds and orange zest. It is not overwhelmingly orangy, but has just enough flavor to make you think. I especially liked using the sunflower oil, because it gave the crust a very light flaky taste. I made this bread to go with dinner, but it would be excellent for breakfast. A little butter, maybe some orange marmalade if you are daring (or like orange marmalade, which I don't). Either way, it turned out just the way I wanted. If you are not a big fan of sunflower seeds, which is silly, I think walnuts would also be very tasty. The one thing I did not like about this recipe was that it only made one loaf. This can be easily remedied. A tip, before eating the next day, microwave for 10 seconds, it will warm/soften right up.