I have been getting a bit bored with making the same old bread, so this week decided to try doing something 'seedy'. I have been experimenting with some new flours and grains recently and had bought some millet a while back, which I hadn't felt confident enough to try. When I think of millet, I always think of bird seed and that image has probably prevented me from considering it as 'food' ........ until now..........
When I started trying to find out more about it and how to use it, I discovered that far from being consigned to feeding the local wildlife, it is a staple in many parts of the world and particularly throughout Asia and Africa. A small-seeded grass, it is a good source of vitamin B, has an interesting texture (a little 'porridgy' if you use the flakes) and is pretty mild in flavour compared to some other grains, so is well suited to using in bread without becoming too over-powering.
There seem to be a number of different types of millet which vary in size, shape and colour, and if I am honest, I have no idea which was in the packet I bought. I just assumed that millet was millet, and although the pack has long since been thrown away when I transferred the contents to a container, I couldn't say that it would have left me any the wiser to have read the detail. Either way, I bought millet flakes, because they looked softer and more familiar than bird seed!
So, to the loaf........ Apart from adding millet to the mix, I have also thrown in some seeds. I love a scattering of seeds in bread, especially when they are dotted through the loaf. They seem to make it more interesting and appealing both to look at and to eat. I particularly love pumpkin seeds for their nuttiness, colour and crunch and sunflower seeds because they add a creamy, nutty experience to the bake. I wanted a loaf which was wholesome, but especially balanced in flavour so that the taste and texture of the seeds really shone through.
I tried a number of combinations of flour and bake before I settled on the one below and I played around with different quantities of liquid, yeast and honey to reach a loaf which I think does what I set out to do. It is moist, mild, nutty, has a fantastic bite, tastes great with anything from cheese, fish or meat to houmous, peanut butter or honey. It holds together well (those of you who are gluten free will know what I mean.....) and makes the most fantastic toast!
So here it is....... my
Pumpkin Seed & Sunflower Seed Bread (gluten & dairy free)
Ingredients (makes 1 large loaf or if you prefer, use mini individual loaf tins)160g fine brown rice flour
80g quinoa flour
60g buckwheat flour
50g potato flour
60g tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 generous tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 generous tablespoon sunflower seeds
50g millet flakes
4 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon golden caster sugar
250 ml hand warm water
20g easy bake yeast (I used Allinson's)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons runny honey
- Get ready a 2 lb/900g non-stick loaf tin.
- Weigh and mix together the brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, potato and tapioca flours, xanthan gum and salt in a large bowl, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
- Add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and stir through.
- In a separate small bowl, mix the millet flakes with the boiling water thoroughly and leave to stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
- In a 3rd medium-sized bowl, whisk the lemon juice, sugar, yeast and warm water and leave to ferment for 10 minutes.
- Add the eggs and honey to the flour mix and blend together using a mixer with a dough hook attachment. I am sure a large spoon will work just as well.
- Add the soaked millet and yeast mix to the flour blend and continue to mix until thoroughly blended.
- Spoon the dough-batter into the loaf tin and smooth the surface. Gently press a few pumpkin and sunflower seeds into the surface and sprinkle a little brown rice flour across the top.
- Loosely cover the surface with cling film and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour until more or less doubled in size.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200⁰ C / 400⁰ F / Gas 6.
- Remove the cling film and bake the bread for 10 minutes at this temperature and then turn the oven down to 180⁰ C / 350⁰ F / Gas 4, and bake for a further 30 to 45 minutes until the surface is nicely browned and a sharp knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Once cooked, remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- If you want to freeze, cut and seal in a freezer food bag and freeze as soon as it has completely cooled.
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