Sunflower Honey & Oat Bread
Here is a delicious opportunity for using some whole grain organic oats, crunchy unsalted organic sunflower seeds and some thick and sweet local honey. This bread is perfect for using to make sandwiches and toast. It has a fluffy soft center with a light crunchy crust.
Honey will give your bread just the right amount of moisture as well as acting as a natural food preserver. There is no need for unnatural food preservatives found in commercial bread when making your own. Honey has been known for decades to kill many types of bacteria. The Sunflower Seeds are an excellent way of getting plenty of vitamin E in your diet. Why just a handful provides 76% of the daily requirements. Of course Oats are an excellent source of fiber as well as a a source for selenium.
The key to making successful bread at home is warmth. From your bowls to the eggs and water, everything must be warm or at room temperature. In the colder months I find myself turning the oven on its lowest temperature and setting my dough to rise on the stove top. When the oven is busy with other things I will place a lamp on the table and set my dough underneath. Find what works best for you to be sure your dough will rise nice and full.
Sunflowers are always necessary as well as beautiful for growing in an organic garden. They are a great companion for your corn and attracts many beneficial pollinators and insects to your garden. There are many wonderful heirloom varieties to choose from. It will depend on what your purposes are for growing them for what type you will want to grow. We grow ours for the seed and use it for a supplement to the poultry feed. We've also been known to toast them up for a tasty treat. You will find that the many ornamental varieties, especially the shorter ones will grow great in small spaces and even in pots. Just be sure to give them plenty of sunshine.
- 2/ 3 cup sourdough starter(also rye flour is great to feed the starter with to keep it going.)
- 4 cups flour - I use a combination for my rye bread of 2 cups rye and 2 cups white flour . I find it is rises better and is just a nicer loaf of bread.
- 1 2/ 3 - 2 cups water
- 1 T honey
- 1 T fresh olive oil
- 1 t salt
- Before using the starter I would have pulled it out of the fridge and fed it with equal amounts of flour and water. Then I let it sit out on the counter for 4-6 hours and look for some bubbling action to show me that the starter is active and ready for use. (Starters can be obtained from a friend with an active culture, starting your own, or purchasing a starter.)
- Then I take a ceramic bowl and mix up the above recipe (usually I double it.). I stir it well but usually do not knead it at all because it is often too sticky to knead. (To make sourdough this way you must throw out everything you used to know about bread baking.) Then I cover the bowl and let it sit for 12 hours. If I mix this in the morning then I let it sit until evening. When I poke my finger into the dough after the 12 hours the indentation should stay in the dough for several seconds; this way I now it is time to move on.
- Then I grease my bread pans and put the bread out. This recipe will make 1 -2 loaves in a normal size pan. Again I cover the pans and let them sit another 12 hours.
- Then I put the pans into the oven. 450 for 10 minutes and then 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. If the bread is browned and firm I will pull it out. It usually has risen nicely, although not as tall as bread with added commercial yeast.