This loaf of bread has the ultimate look of a healthy whole grains and seeded bread. In fact, the bread is dark, rugged, densely packed with seeds and grains, you have to strain to find the regular bread crumbs. You may reluctantly take a piece and eat it; you know it’s full of fiber and nutritious goodness. I made the bread and put some of it away in the freezer thinking that no one in my family would be enthusiastic to eat it. I didn’t have the time to make an elaborate sales pitch singing the praise of a low-gluten nutrient-dense brick of hearty bread.
Quite unexpectedly, when I put it out on the counter in the kitchen, the bread sells itself on its own merits: the grainy toothsome texture and its natural nutty sweetness. A bread with substance, tangy and surprisingly delicious. The bread is made with 80% spelt flour, 20% freshly milled buckwheat flour, 105% sprouted buckwheat groats, and 80% seeds, including sunflower, flaxseeds, sesame and pumpkin seeds. See the cheat sheet below for details.
Does rugbrod, or Danish rye bread, rings the bell for you? Rudbrod is a dense bread containing a coarse mix of grains and kernels. It provides the base of most open-faced Danish and similar sandwiches found in Nordic countries, served with herring, cured salmon, ground liver or smoked cheese. Rugbrod was the source of inspiration from which Chad Robertson drew to formulate what he calls Rene’s-style pan loaves. I adapted one of his pan loaf recipes from Tartine Book No. 3.
These loaves have a large percentage of whole-sprouted berries and a comparatively small percentage of flour, much of it low-gluten. These pan breads are dense, as compared to the sourdough seeded hearth loaves. The hydration level is very high and the dough has the feel of wet concrete. I did not bother to shape it; it defied shaping. Just pour the wet dough and proof it in loaf pans and bake. They have to be baked at a lower temperature of 425°F for a longer period to ensure they are baked thoroughly before the crust burns.
In thermally active areas in Iceland, each family has it’s own hole in the ground at an open communal site, which works like a steam oven to bake this type of traditional bread.
|Seeded loaves at Bouley|
The first time I tasted a similar piece of bread was at Bouley in Tribeca. The restaurant is currently closed. It’s owner David Bouley characterized the closing as temporary or being “on sabbatical.” (Now, you can find rugbrod and anything Nordic conveniently in the Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Terminal.) The restaurant offered the most extensive, if not the best, selection of breads baked on premise than any restaurants I’ve come across in New York city.
The server at Bouley stressed the healthful and low-gluten quality of these Nordic-style breads. I was so intrigued by what I tasted. Yes, the bread had a dense texture but the taste was exceptionally delicious and complex in flavor. I was so inspired and determined to experiment baking my own mixed-grain seeded loaves.
The initial result is extremely encouraging. I love eating the bread, served with some rich European butter for breakfast. Cut the bread thin and toast the slices, they become the most hearty crackers. A must try!
I’m linking this post to Fresh Loaf.