Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Rye Bread with Caraway and Flax

I'll admit that I was a little bit slow jumping on the flax seed bandwagon. Maybe it was an anti-hype reaction. Everyone was saying how good they are for you, and I instinctively recoiled from them. Because, of course, if all that's being said it how good they are, then flavor must not be a selling point.

So I blissfully ignored fax seeds for a long, long time. I had plenty of other favorite seeds to dump into bread. I adore sesame seeds, caraway belongs in rye, and of course poppy seeds are a must on Chicago-style hot dog buns. But flax?

But while I can easily resist hype, I have a hard time resisting a great sale, so when I saw a bag of ground flax seeds at a bargain price, I figured that I had nothing to lose. And then I saw whole flax seeds at the bulk food store and I figured that a little bag wouldn't break the bank. Even better, the bulk store had both light and dark flax seeds. I chose the light ones.

Before I baked with them, I sampled those whole light flax seeds and I was surprised to find they actually tasted good. I was expecting them to be tasteless at best, but instead they tasted sort of a like a cross between sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Oh yes, I could do something with these. And I could feel virtuous at the same time because flax is good for ... something.

In the end, the flavor the flax added to this loaf was pretty subtle; caraway is a much stronger flavor. On the other hand, if you're trying to get more flax into your diet, this is a great way to incorporate it in an unobtrusive way.

Rye Bread with Caraway and Flax

1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup (3 3/4 ounces) medium rye flour
1/4 cup flax meal
2 cups (9 ounces) bread flour, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon whole flax seeds
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and set aside until it's foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the rye flour, flax meal and about half of the bread flour. Stir to combine, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 20 minutes.

Knead with the dough hook until the gluten begins developing, about 5 minutes. Then add the remaining bread flour, salt, and yogurt. Knead with the dough hook until the mixture is elastic. Add the seeds and oil and continue kneading until the oil is incorporated and the seeds are well distributed in the dough.

Form the dough into a ball and drizzle with a bit of olive oil to coat. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled, about 1 hour.

Flour your work surface and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle some cornmeal on a baking sheet. Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into your preferred shape. Place it on the prepared baking sheet, seam-side down, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside until it has doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Remove the plastic wrap, slash the loaf as desired, and bake at 350 degrees until nicely browned, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack before slicing.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

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