Friday, April 30, 2010

Update: Buttermilk Seed Bread, Available for Order!

NEWS We5Apr: Buttermilk seed bread is now available for order! Please place orders 5 days in advance to ensure availability. Email me here.
1 loaf $18, 2 loaves $30
prices shown in SGD

Freshly baked buttermilk seed bread waiting for friends to arrive.

Some people think making bread is a ridiculous, arduous task. "Why don't you just buy it from the store?" This pains me. Why wouldn't I just buy every baked good from the store?

Some nerds tear electronics apart and put them back together because they like knowing how things work. This nerd likes knowing what goes into her food, how to make it better, and derives pleasure not only from the end result but from the process as well. I also like the challenge of throwing things in the oven I've never tried and seeing what comes out. That is why.

I wanted a hearty bread that was sort of healthy, and since I'd already drenched my life in butter with my last bread effort, I thought I'd give buttermilk seed bread from a try.

Buttermilk Seed Bread
Submitted by Kathleen Loyd to and loosely interpreted by me

Yields 2 loafy sized loaves

1 (1/4 ounce) packet  active dry yeast
1 tsp  sugar
3/4 C  warm water (110 F or 45 C)*
scant 1 1/2 C  whole milk (+ lemon juice = buttermilk substitute)
1 1/2 T  lemon juice
2 T  butter, melted
3 T  honey
2 tsp  salt
2 T  sesame seeds
2 T  flax seeds
2 T  sunflower seeds
2 T  pumpkin seeds**
2 C  whole wheat flour
4 C  bread flour
olive oil

Clockwise from the top right: flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds.

*warm to the touch but not too warm for a baby I'd say
**the original recipe calls for poppy seeds, but the store didn't have any, so I used what I had on hand

Buttermilk seed dough after a good night's rest.
  1. Place warm water in a tall mug and stir in the yeast and sugar. Let stand 10 minutes (it gets super frothy and foamy!).
  2. Mix milk and lemon juice and let stand 10 minutes (it curdles a bit, totally normal, don't you worry).
  3. Mix curdled milk, butter, honey, and yeast mix in a large bowl.
  4. Add salt and whole wheat flour and mix well.
  5. Add bread flour a 1/2 C at a time and mix well with a large spoon after each addition. Sprinkle about half the seeds with the first 1/2 C of bread flour and the rest with the second 1/2 C to ensure even distribution.
  6. Once it becomes difficult to mix with a spoon, knead the remaining bread flour into the dough.
  7. Knead about 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic and homogeneous.
  8. Form the dough into a ball and lightly coat it with olive oil before placing it in a bowl.
  9. Seal the dough with plastic wrap (make sure there are no gaps, otherwise you'll get a dry skin on it) and let it sleep in the fridge through the night.
  10. Uncover the dough and punch it down so no fluffy air remains.
  11. Divide into two pieces and shape into loaves as desired (you can throw them in greased loaf tins or on baking sheets lined with silicone mats) and let rise until they've doubled in volume (about 1 hour).
  12. Bake at 375 F (190 C) for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness by tapping the bottom of the loaves; if it sounds hollow and the tops are nicely browned, you have just made bread!
  13. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes (preferably an hour) before slicing.
Buttermilk Seed Bread Reflections

I took a chunk of the bread fresh from the oven and gave it a taste test; to my horror, it was BITTER. No! Where did I go wrong?! Well, friends, don't worry about a thing; once the bread had cooled and had a nice rest, it tasted lovely.

The bread wasn't as dense as I thought it would be, but it was no fluffy affair either. It was this happy medium of soft, slightly chewy bread rife with seeds. The crust wasn't very... crusty as they say; this loaf was a far cry from your fresh baguette you merrily squeeze on the way home from the bakery. This could be remedied, perhaps, with an egg wash, but I think it was fine just the way it was.

Make sure you own a proper bread knife before making bread; any other knife pretty much fails. The serrated edge of the bread knife allows you to saw through both the thicker crust and the soft insides without ripping everything to pieces.

I think I'll add about 50% more salt next time; the bread could use a little more punch. Really though, all that effort is completely worth it. The Resident Taste Tester, a pack of friends over for Saturday dinner, a car design intern, a DJ/teacher, and myself can all attest to the wonders of homemade bread. It is an absolute dream when topped with butter, cream cheese, cold cuts and such and is excellent toasted. I even have an order for it! My very first order!!! That's how good homemade bread can be.

A happy loaf with even slices. Get a bread knife, folks.


  1. I'm loving your posts! Keep writing!

  2. Aw, thanks Kira! It's good to know that people other than my parents are reading my ramblings (love you Mom and Pops).