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Multigrain Yeast Bread

This picture-perfect, crusty loaf will satisfy both the novice and the experienced baker. Use it for breakfast toast or sandwiches. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk 
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses 
  • 1 envelope (2 1/2 tsp.) active dry yeast 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed  
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour  
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. rolled oats 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt  
  • 1 egg, separated 
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. hulled unsalted, toasted sunflower seeds

Directions:

In a saucepan over low heat, combine the milk and molasses and heat to 105° to 115°F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

By hand: In a large bowl, stir together the 2 cups all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, the 1/2 cup rolled oats and the salt. Whisk the egg yolk into the yeast mixture, then slowly stir into the flour mixture. Beat with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Add small amounts of all-purpose flour until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding all-purpose flour as needed to reduce stickiness.

By mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, stir together the 2 cups all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, the 1/2 cup rolled oats, and the salt. Whisk the egg yolk into the yeast mixture and add to the bowl. Beat on medium speed until a sticky dough forms. Continuing to beat, add small amounts of all-purpose flour until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes, adding all-purpose flour as needed to reduce stickiness.

Form the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Turn to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Lightly oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Punch the dough down and let rest for 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and sprinkle with the 1/3 cup sunflower seeds. Fold the dough over and knead until the seeds are evenly distributed. Flatten the dough into a 12-by-7-inch rectangle. Beginning with a short side, loosely roll up the dough rectangle and pinch the seam to seal. Transfer, seam side down, to the prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. While the dough is rising, preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Remove the plastic wrap and brush the top of the loaf with the egg white. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbs. each rolled oats and sunflower seeds evenly over the top. Bake the bread until the top is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. The loaf can be cut into 16 slices. Serves 16.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).