On Most days I will just use the bread machine to make homemade bread. Sometimes though it's nice to have something a little different but on most bread machines you can still use them as a tool to minimize some of the work involved in making homemade bread. If your machine had a Dough Cycle you're golden! This will mix your bread and let it rise taking out 90% of the work involved in a nice seeded french loaf.
For this recipe we will be using the Bread machine only for the dough cycle.
You will Need:
1.5 Cups Warm Water
3.5 Cups AP Flour
2 TSP Bread Machine Yeast
2 TBSP White Sugar
2 TSP Salt
1 TBSP Wheat Gluten
2 TBSP Egg Whites
1 TBSP Raw sunflower seeds
1 TSP Flax seeds
1 TSP Poppy Seeds
Add ingredients UP TO and including the wheat gluten into the bread machine in the order listed. Turn the machine onto the dough cycle and start. This may take up to 1.5 hours to complete which includes some rising time.
We're adding wheat gluten which adds some chewiness to the bread. You don't need much and it makes a big difference in the texture.
Once the dough is complete, roll it out by hand into a tube and place onto a floured pan. Use a pan that you're planning on baking it on, or better yet a baking stone. Avoid a bread pan for this because it will confine this nice big loaf too much. Slit the dough on top with a knife, about 1/2 inch deep. A slit about every 2 inches is perfect. Cover the dough with a cheesecloth and let this sit on the counter for about an hour. The dough will rise again and nearly double in size.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. With a soft basting brush, brush the dough with the egg white. Try not to let too much drip onto the pan because this can glue the bread to the pan making it more difficult to remove.
Once covered in egg whites drizzle the seeds onto the top, covering as much of the bread as possible. Place a cast iron pan filled with water on one of the oven shelves. (This adds some crisp to the crust of the bread) Bake the bread for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Tap the bread to test for done-ness. You should get a hollow sound when taping it. Let cool on a wire cooling rack. You're done. This keeps well on the counter wrapped in cheesecloth for about a week. I smile every morning when I cut a slice and make toast knowing that I made this from scratch and it didn't take hours of work thanks to the bread machine.
And of course this makes a great companion to any homemade stew or soup.