I just returned from Israel, dreaming of burnt eggplant, whole roasted cauliflower, fresh salads for breakfast and beautiful, yeasty whole grain breads.
Actually, day dreaming is more accurate, since jet lag has left me sleepless. Which has given me more time to bake.
One of my favorite breakfast places in Tel Aviv is Café Sonia Getzel Shapira, partly because the enclosed tree-filled courtyard is a serene place to enjoy breakfast but mostly because of their bread. With breakfast, they serve Moraccan bread, soft and richly flavored molasses-colored rolls filled with oatmeal flakes.
My first morning home, I had a craving for those rolls. I modified my favorite bread recipe, to try to replicate Sonia’s, adding a little flax seed just for fun (and added fiber and omega-3s, of course). They were good, so I decided to try the recipe again as a sandwich loaf. Here is the result.
Don’t be afraid to make bread. It’s really quite easy and takes very little hands-on time and the results are so rewarding. Here's a play-by-play. The instructions are below.
What’s better than warm bread, right out of the oven? While the bread is rising and baking, you can do a million other things. I suggest reading a magazine in the sunshine.
I hope you enjoy, preferably sharing a slice with someone you love!
Oatmeal Flax Molasses Bread
Makes about 12 slices
2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon molassas
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 packet yeast (1/4 oz yeast total)
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
¾ cup whole rolled oats
½ cup ground flax seed
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon water
Add the two cups of warm water to a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Whisk in the molasses. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and stir or whisk slightly to incorporate the yeast into the water. Let the yeast mixture proof for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast foams and until you smell the yeast developing. (If the yeast doesn’t foam, that means it’s not still alive and you have to try again.)
To the bowl of your stand mixer, add the whole wheat flour, oatmeal, flax and salt. Stir together.
Pour the yeast mixture into the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough is formed. Cover with a towel and let sit for about 30 minutes. This lets the dough hydrate. If you don’t have time to wait, you can skip this step.
Place the dough hook attachment on your stand mixture and knead for 10 – 15 minutes. This is a wet dough, so don’t be concerned if it doesn’t necessarily come together in a dough ball. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead by hand. You’ll probably have to knead in a little extra flour, which will just make for a more dense bread. It will still be good.
Cover the dough with a towel and let rise for an hour in a warm place. The dough will double in size.
In the meantime, prepare a loaf pan by spreading extra virgin olive oil on the inside, to prevent the dough from sticking.
Once the dough has risen, softly deflate it and then place the dough in the loaf pan, spreading it to the edges. Cover with a towel and let it rise again, about an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the dough has risen for a second time, whisk together the egg and water and brush the egg wash on top of the bread dough. This will make the top shiny.
Place the loaf pan in the oven and bake for about 40 – 45 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown on top and sounds hollow when you tap the top.
Remove the pan from the oven and turn the bread out onto a baking rack to cool. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing. If you can wait that long.
Note: If you want to turn these into rolls, just divide the dough into 8 pieces and bake on a baking stone for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.