Seeded seven-grain bread recipe

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This hearty loaf is chock-full of whole grains and seeds that give it an appealingly rustic flavor and texture. We used our Dutch oven to give this loaf a crackly crust and even crumb. First, we focused on the dough itself: Rather than call for a laundry list of grains to get the right flavor, we turned to seven-grain hot cereal mix. Pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds, both incorporated into to the dough and sprinkled on top, offered a range of textures. To encourage the loaf to rise high, we used a hot oven to aid “oven spring,” a term for the fast expansion of bread dough in the first few minutes of baking. We prevented the crust from setting too quickly in the intense heat by covering the Dutch oven for the first part of baking; the humidity in the closed pot kept the dough moist and allowed it to rise high before the crust set. To get a browned exterior, we finished the bread uncovered, lowering the oven temperature to avoid burning the seeds on top. Be sure to use hot cereal mix, not boxed cold breakfast cereals, which may also be labeled “seven-grain.”

  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Total Time: 3 Hours 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (16 ounces) warm tap water (110 degrees)
  • 1½ cups (7½ ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3½ cups (19¼ ounces) bread flour
  • 1¾ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 3 tablespoons raw, unsalted pepitas
  • 3 tablespoons raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water and pinch salt
How to Make It
  1. Whisk water, cereal, honey, and oil in bowl of stand mixer until honey has completely dissolved; let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add flour, salt, and yeast to cereal mixture. Using dough hook on low speed, mix until cohesive dough starts to form and no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and knead until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce speed to low, slowly add 2 tablespoons pepitas and 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, and mix until mostly incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand until smooth, round ball forms and any loose seeds are evenly distributed, about 2 minutes. Place dough, seam side down, in lightly greased large bowl or container, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1½ to 2 hours.
  4. Lay 18 by 12-inch sheet of parchment paper on counter and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter. Using lightly floured hands, press and stretch dough into 10-inch round, deflating any gas pockets larger than 1 inch.
  5. Working around circumference of dough, fold edges toward center until ball forms. Flip dough ball seam side down and, using your cupped hands, drag in small circles on counter until dough feels taut and round and all seams are secured on underside of loaf.
  6. Place loaf, seam side down, in center of prepared parchment. Using parchment as sling, gently lower loaf into Dutch oven. Cover, tucking any excess parchment into pot, and let rise until loaf increases in size by about half and dough springs back minimally when poked gently with your knuckle, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon pepitas, remaining 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and poppy seeds in small bowl. Holding sharp paring knife or single-edge razor blade at 30-degree angle to loaf, make two 5-inch-long, ½-inch-deep slashes with swift, fluid motion along top of loaf to form cross. Brush loaf with egg mixture and sprinkle seed mixture evenly over top.
  8. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and bake loaf for 30 minutes. Uncover, reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees, and continue to bake until loaf is deep golden brown and registers 205 to 210 degrees, about 25 minutes.
  9. Using parchment sling, remove loaf from pot and transfer to wire rack; discard parchment. Let cool completely, about 3 hours, before serving.
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