Stevens’ malted and seeded loaf


These are my first loaves based on recipes from Dan Stevens’ River Cottage Handbook No.3: Bread.

In his intro to this recipe, Mr Stevens says it’s a very popular loaf at River Cottage. You really can’t beat a good loaf that uses “Granary”-style flour. “Granary” is trademarked to Hovis, so what we actually mean here is malted grain flour. Mr Stevens’ recipe is one of those fairly flexible ones, and he just talks about adding “2 handfuls of extras” in the form of whatever seeds you fancy, though with a caveat to watch the fennel seeds as they’re so pungent; I’d add “ditto caraway”, as any bread with caraway seeds in it is kinda defined by their flavour.

I made mine with pumpkin, sunflower, sesame (what is a sesame plant? Never occurred to me before but I have no idea), a few poppy seeds and some buckwheat (which I probably should have toasted first).

Unlike Mr Lepard in The Handmade Loaf and M Bertinet in Dough, Mr Stevens gives his water in volume, rather than weight, which suddenly felt a bit odd to me after using the former two books so much lately. Those guys have won be over with their rationale about the accuracy of weighing liquids rather than relying on eye to check mililitres.

Anyway. This uses:
1kg malted grain flour
10g dried easy-blend yeast (not used that for a while!)
20g fine salt
600ml warm water
And some old dough – I used 3T of my white leaven.
2 handfuls of seeds

I mixed all the dry ingredients, then made up the dough with the wet ingredients.

Mr Stevens’ basic dough method involves kneading for around 10 minutes, but my standard method these days, when I’m making a fairly dry dough such as this (and not using a sponge) is to use the Lepard method: knead for a few mins, form a ball, leave for 10 mins, knead for 10 secs or so, leave another 10 mins, knead for 10 secs or so, then again in another 10 mins.

Rested it for an hour and a half (ish), then I divided it 3/5th, 2/5ths, and made a small tin loaf and a large-ish baton. Left them to rise for another hour and a half ish. Brushed them with milk and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Baking on baking stone for about 20 mins at 240C, then reduced it to about 190 and gave them another 20 mins.

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