A honey-scented, seed-studded loaf that’s super adaptable. And no kneading required!
It was about six weeks ago that the supermarket shelves were first stripped bare of hand sanitiser and toilet paper. A week or so after that whole aisles of bread racks stood empty as the panic-buying took hold. And now here we are confined to our homes with restricted access to our communities and the wider world around us. Life for many of us has slowed, and taken on a new rhythm, a new purpose.
Faced with empty bread shelves during this time, people have turned to flour, yeast and water to nourish and sustain themselves and their families. This is a wonderful thing. It brings us closer to our food and teaches us and our children more about the origins of our food (we grow and mill a variety of grains here in New Zealand) and how things are made. It is empowering.
The recipe below is a great one to begin on your bread-making journey. It came from a dear friend of my parents, Lynne Pope. She an engaging and charismatic woman, a wonderful listener with a whole lot of soul. So thank you Lynne! This is a no-knead recipe which means it’s quick and easy to make. The resulting loaf is honey scented and studded with just the right amount of seeds. It is fantastic toasted, slathered with butter and drizzled with honey. It makes great sandwiches too.
And if you’re gluten-free just replace the flour with your favourite gluten-free blend. My brother made it the other day and having very little in his cupboard, he used solely almond and buckwheat flour. It resulted in a loaf with a strong buckwheat flavour but it worked beautifully all the same. So really, use whatever you might have in your pantry, even if that means grinding up some oats and mixing it with some regular flour.
LYNNE POPE’S BREAD
Makes 2 loaves
- 3 cups white flour
- 3 cups wholemeal flour (I used rye flour as that is what I had on hand; it’s also great)
- ½ cup sesame seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
- ½ cup sunflower seeds (I didn’t have any on hand so used linseed instead)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups milk (cow or nut or even water is fine)
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- olive oil
Preheat the oven to 50ºC and line two loaf tins with baking paper. If you can’t set your oven this low, then turn it on so it’s warm but not hot. Put both the flours, seeds and salt in a large bowl and mix well to combine.
Next, in a large heat-proof jug, dissolve the honey in the boiling water. Add to this the milk, stirring well to combine, before sprinkling over the yeast. Leave this mixture for a few minutes until the yeast has foamed.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the yeast mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir this mixture until it all comes together and there are no dry clumps of flour left.
Divide this mixture between the two loaf tins and put in the warm oven for 30 minutes to rise.
After 30 minutes, brush the tops of the loaves with olive oil – I actually drizzle the olive oil over use my hands to gently smear it over. Sprinkle with sesame seeds then turn the oven up to 200ºC and bake for 35 minutes.
To check the loaves are ready, tip them out of the tins and give them a gentle tap on the bottoms – if it sounds hollow, they’re ready. If not, return them to the oven and cook for a few more minutes until done. Remove the loaves from the oven and put on a rack to cool. Slice once cool, if you can resist temptation!