Is there anything better than the smell of fresh baked bread? Try this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and see for yourself.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 cup (5-ounces) 7-grain hot cereal
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups (12 1/2 to 15 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (I used pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats
- In a medium heatproof bowl, stir the boiling water together with the 7-grain cereal. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and cools to about 110 degrees. This takes about 30 minutes. Stir in melted butter and honey.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together 2 1/2 cups of the all-purpose flour, the whole-wheat flour, yeast, and salt. On low-speed, add the warm cereal mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 2 minutes.
- Continue kneading the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. About halfway through, check to see if more flour is needed. The goal is for the dough to clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom. If more flour seems necessary, add the remaining 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour, one or two tablespoons at a time. During the final minute of mixing, add the pumpkin (or sunflower) seeds to combine.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it by hand to form a round ball, then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with a piece of greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press it into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough up tight into a cylinder and pinch the seams close. Place the loaf, seam side down, into the pan. Lightly spray the top of the loaf with cooking spray, cover loosely with plastic, and let rise again in a warm spot until about doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when gently pressed, roughly 45 to 75 minutes*.
- Have oven preheated at 350 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Before baking, brush the top of the loaf with some melted butter, sprinkle with the oats, and lightly spray the top with water. Bake until golden and the center registers 200 degrees, approximately 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
- Let bread cool in the loaf pan for about 15 minutes before turning out and letting it cool fully on a wire rack for about 2 hours before serving.
*Note: From our cooking class’s experience, it’s best to test the readiness of the dough rather than only relying on the time measure. The bread is ready when you lightly press it with a moistened finger or your knuckle and it feels springy. The indentation you made should slowly fill back in. If it doesn’t fill in, the dough has risen for too long (which will make for a dense, short loaf). If it fills back very quickly, it needs more time to rise (under-risen dough will make for a dense loaf that may tear on top). Enjoy!