Author Notes: I'm not one of those people who get a massive thrill from having their elbows whitened and toned from kneading bread dough, Oh no, that's not me. Call me lazy but I have many other daily struggles and I decided long ago I would take the wide and easy path, tarred by the no-knead methods of Jeff and Zoe of bread in 5 minutes a day, and my King Arthur's dough whisk - and I've made the best bread ever.
This loaf is in honour of my pack of chia seeds, purchased in a fit of shopping fever when I was in Houston at Wholefoods a few weeks ago. I had no CLUE what I was going to do with the seeds but the call for bulk bin recipes got my creative juices going. The result was proclaimed by my husband as the best bread I've ever made.....and how truly delicious salted butter tastes on bread. My daughters friends asked for slice after slice on their playdate, no put off by the brown 'wholegrain' tint of the crumb (while my kids looked on and zipped their lips). *Sigh*
Chia seeds taste (remind me of) millet grains, with a nice and nutty flavour. I love that texture encased in the softness of the mie (French for inside) - Kitchen Butterfly
Makes 1 loaf
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons dried cherries
- 1 cup warm water + 4 tablespoons
- 10g fresh baker’s yeast
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten slightly
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1 cup bread flour
- Soak your chia seeds and dried cherries in 4 tablespoons of water and set aside for 10 minutes to plump.
- In a large bowl (which has a lid, if possible), dissolve your yeast in the remaining 1 cup of warm water. Because you’re using fresh yeast, you don’t have to wait for the yeast to ‘prove’ (bubble/froth).
- To this yeast mixture, add the chia-cherry mixture using a dough whisk or a wooden spoon. Stir and then add the caster sugar, beaten egg, oil and salt. Gradually stir in the flour, one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the side of your bowl. The dough is ready when it is even mixed without any dry patches.
- Partly cover the dough with a lid or loosely with cling-film/plastic wrap and allow the mixture to rise at room temperature for a couple of hours. Then refrigerate overnight, still with partly covered lid/loose cling film.
- On baking day, prepare a clean surface and lightly grease a loaf pan, set aside.
- Remove the dough from the container onto your work area and gently knead together. Then gently shape the dough into a rough rectangle and prepare to make the ‘French letter fold’.
- Put the best side down (which will end up as the top) and begin. Bring in one of the long sides of the dough to the centre and follow with the other side. Be gentle so as not to push out all the air. Pinch the seam closed from one end to the other – it should look like a long, weird calzone - you want to shape your dough so it fills just under half of the pan – this will give it room to rise properly. Gently turn the dough over so it is now seam-side down.
- To seal the ends, using the side of your palm, press down one end to make a groove. Then fold the tapered end under the dough. Repeat at the other end. Place in the greased pan and then spray the top with some (olive) oil spray (to prevent the dough from sticking) and cover with cling film.
- Set the dough in a warm place and allow to rise till the dough fills the pan and is risen a touch above it. (I normally put my loaf in the oven to prove, making sure the oven is turned off and being careful to gently remove the risen dough before the next step - preheating)
- Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C and gently place the bread in the centre. Bake for about 40 minutes or until brown and an instant thermometer reads 190 degrees).
- Once the top is bronzed, remove from oven and let cool for at least ten minutes on a rack. Remove from pan and check the underside – if it is wet, return to the oven placing it wet side up (top side down) and let bake/dry out for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow cool down (on a rack) before serving and spreading with a delicious amount of salted butter.