FACT- brownies, deep fried kachoris, cakes, muffins- all are fattening! No matter how much you want to escape from this fact, it somehow finds its way to get to you. For me, it found its way through the weighing machine. Now, all this while I have been in the US, I was without a weighing scale and the two times I got my weight checked- orientation at the gym and a doctor’s appointment- I was told the weight in pounds. And, well, I’m used to hearing it in kgs. So, conveniently, I used to convert pounds to a figure in kgs I thought was good enough- not too little but not too much either- a number close to what I used to be in India. For me, that was acceptable- of course, there is always scope to lose more- but it wasn’t a number to raise alarms.
The other day, we went to Ikea during our stay in Phoenix. And there sitting in the Home Decorations section was a weighing scale. We had been planning of getting one, though I have never been the weighing scale type. I generally go by my stomach- if its not tight- I have to work out harder. But, for a while now I had not weighed myself (atleast not where I got a figure in the metric system I was comfortable with), so when I saw a weighing machine that showed the weight in kgs, I thought it was time to get one. We got it home and I decided to check my weight. And, well, as my first line read–brownies, cakes, muffins, and the likes are FATTENING!! VERY FATTENING!!!! So, I decided enough of these (let’s see how long it lasts though- baking and I have a very strong bond- some numbers aren’t enough to break them!)!
So, I have decided to go for a run everyday from now, barring the two days I have Zumba. I will also try making healthier food and have resolved that whatever rich dessert I make- it is going to be distributed. The latter, I have, more or less, been doing.
As a part of my new resolution, I decided to make country seed bread. Its not a 100% whole wheat bread- has a fair distribution of whole-wheat and bread flour. But, its rich in all other kinds of goodness. One, it is filled with the goodness of flax seeds. I can go on and on about the benefits of flax seeds but I think its better if you just google it. And once you do, its reason enough to go ahead and try this recipe for yourself. And as the name suggests, that’s not the only seeds it has. In each bite of this bread, you get the toasty taste of flax seeds, poppy and sesame seeds and the awesome crunch of sunflower seeds.
Slice and toast it in the oven with cheese on top–and you have a piece of heaven in your mouth- which is actually good for you.
COUNTRY SEED BREAD
3/4 cup water (the recipe calls for 3/4 cups, but, I generally have to add a little flour, so I have started using 2/3 cup and that works fine)
4 tsp honey
4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups bread flour
2/3 cups whole wheat flour
3 tbsp flax seeds
4 tsp sesame seeds
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
Toast flax seeds in oven at 400°F for approx. 9 min. Let cool and grind them to a fine powder. The seeds can be added non-toasted but they should definitely be ground, else you won’t be able to reap the benefits of the seeds.
Activate the yeast by putting in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Leave for 5-8 minutes till frothy.
Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer and mix till the dough is combined. (You can continue to knead in the mixer for about 10 minutes but I prefer to knead by hand, using the mixer only to combine the ingredients. That ways there’s less of a mess on the counter!) Continue to knead by hand for a few minutes. (Add additional flour if required)
After kneading, place the dough in a lightly oiled, large mixing bowl. The dough should be turned over to oil the top so that it does not dry out. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a wet dish towel. Let rise in a warm place till double in size. I generally let it rise in the oven and place a pan of boiling water in with it, so that there’s humidity in the air- perfect for the yeast to ferment.
RISE TEST 1: Stick two fingers till second knuckle and take them out. If indentation remains, dough is ripe and ready to be punched down. If not, cover and let rise longer.
After dough has risen to double, it has to be punched down, so that it is easier to shape. Once the dough is approximately half its original size, knead it couple of times and then let it rest, covered, for approximately 5 minutes. Gluten will relax and it will be easier for shaping.
After shaping, cover and let rise again.
RIPE TEST 2: A light fingertip touch to side of the risen bread, should leave indentation.
Bake in preheated oven at 375°F for 32 minutes. I generally place a bowl of water in the oven while the bread is baking.
Once baked, butter the top and sides of the bread so that the crust doesn’t dry out easily. Remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing.