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Seedy business

The title is a pun. I made a seedful bread. Seeds, seedy: GET IT? Yay! High five! Anybody?

seeds, sesame

I feel like I’ve got this bread making business under control nowadays: I can reliably produce delectable loaves of sandwich-appropriate bread. Hellz yeah. I can make foccaccia, naan, tortillas. I can, when called upon, produce crusty, open-crumbed bread suitable for drizzling with olive oil and then crushing marinated feta against…I’m sorry, I got distracted there for a second.

seeds, pumpkin and/or sunflower

So, basic bread-making: TICK. Feel like I’ve earned that merit badge. Let’s crank it up: time to face one of my 2012 cooking challenges. I love multigrain bread, but haven’t had it for aaaaages. Like a bolt from the blue, I realised I could have a go at making it myself. “I could try making multigrain bread myself!” I cried. “Excellent,” M replied “could you finish changing the tyre first? You’re going to be late for work.”

In order to heighten the chances of success, I decided to adapt my basic sandwich loaf recipe, to incorporate some mixed seeds. My usual loaf is a 50/50 blend of wholemeal and white flour, at 70% hydration. I toasted pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, and found a packet of poppyseeds at the back of the pantry (estimated date of purchase: 1981-3).

seeds, chia (pre-glugging)

Then the chia seeds on the pantry door winked at me, the little bastards. “Still don’t know what to do with us, eh? Well, no hurry, dearie, you’ll get there!” Smug little grains. They’re going in. Since chia seeds are hyper-hydrophilic, I thought they might detract from the hydration of the loaf if they didn’t bring their own water along: so I soaked them in boiling water first.

seeds, chia (post-glugging)

Holy cow, those things suck it up. I mixed up 40g of chia seeds with 160g boiling water, and left them to soak while I had my lunch: they turned, almost instantly, into a thick grey gel, like frogspawn left out in the sun. Remind me again why the blogging community has gone haywire over this stuff? Skeptical but optimistic, I mixed it in with my seeds, flour, yeast, salt, etc…

seeds, not pictured. This is flour.

The dough was thick and tacky, but strengthened with kneading to resemble a gluey bread dough. It was slow to rise, but rise it did…so I went ahead and baked it. The result. Hm.

seeds, unimpressive

Let’s go through the checklist of doom. Did not rise in the oven: check. Did not become a light and springy sandwich bread with the added crunch of toasted seeds: check. Chewy and firm, one may almost say rubbery, crumb: check. Squat square loaf. I’m not impressed. In fact, I’m outright annoyed with the whole chia seed thing. It wrecked my bread. It wrecked peanut-butter chocolate chip bikkies and how is that even possible? It has wrecked one too many things.

Chia seeds are getting composted the shit out of this place. Then I’m going to make a proper freaking seedy sandwich bread. Is that clear, everybody?

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