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I haven’t yet got to the stage of growing my own wheat for bread baking (although if I had more space, I might well give it a go…).  But I do like using seeds collected from the garden in home-baked bread.   Poppy seed is one of my favourites for baking, and luckily one of my favourite flowers too.

Poppies

I’m collecting the last of the poppy seed now.  A lot of it has already been shed, meaning there will be lots of seedlings next spring (and more seed next autumn).

Poppy seed heads

With the start of the new school term, I’m going to have to get back into a routine of baking bread for packed lunches.  This recipe makes a good loaf for sandwiches and is easy to make …it’s also very good sliced fresh from the oven and served with butter and homemade jam.  Not being the most organised of people, I tend to use whichever seeds I have to hand – poppy (of course!), sunflower, flax and sesame have all been added to the mix at some time or another.  This time around, the poppy seeds from the garden were used with some sunflower seed from the cupboard.

Does anyone else collect seeds for baking?  I’ve got loads of fennel seed ripening – was planning to try some raisin and fennel biscotti, but if you know of any great recipes that use fennel seed, I’d love to hear of them.

Mixed Seed Loaf

Makes a 2lb loaf.

300g strong white bread flour

150g wholemeal bread flour

90g seeds

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp fast-action dried yeast

325ml warm water, or enough to make a soft dough

Put the flours, seeds, salt and dried yeast into a large bowl and stir to mix everything together and distribute the seeds evenly through the flour. Add a good half of the water, then continue to add a little at a time, while mixing.  You’ve added enough water when the mixture comes together to form a soft, but not sticky, ball.

Turn this ball out onto a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, to get a smooth and elastic dough.  Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or some cling wrap, and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours – the dough is ready for the next stage when it’s roughly doubled in size.

Grease a 2lb loaf tin with butter.  Shape the dough to fit the tin neatly, cover it and leave to rise for another hour.  About 10 minutes or so before the end of this rising time, (depending on how long it takes your oven to heat up), preheat the oven to 200oC, 400oF, Gas 6.

Remove the cover and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes.  You should get a hollow sound when you tap the bottom of the loaf, and kitchen will be filled with a wonderful fresh-baked bread smell (which is supposed to be good if you’re trying to sell your house too!).

Cool on a wire rack.

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