With this mix, even a novice baker can turn out a very attractive and satisfying yeast bread, because it requires no kneading or hand-shaping. The preparation involves nothing more than measuring out yeast from the packet in the kit and stirring it, along with ice water and a little vegetable oil, together with the contents of the jar. The dough is then left overnight or all day (or longer if desired) for a slow, cool rise; then stirred down, garnished and turned out into a loaf pan; then raised and baked.
Layer the mix ingredients in a 1-quart jar or canister made of clear glass, acrylic or plastic. Remember to provide recipe directions along with the mix.
If you have raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead of roasted ones, stir them together with 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable oil and salt and roast them for about 10 minutes in a preheated 325-degree oven. Cool completely before packing them in the jar.
Make Ahead: The unopened mix can be stored at room temperature for 1 1/2 months, and for up to 3 months if refrigerated. The baked bread can be wrapped in a tea towel and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Yield: Makes 1 quart jar of mix (one 9-by-5 1/2-inch loaf; 12 servings)
- For the bread mix
- 2 cups unbleached white bread flour
- 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- Scant 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 cup (3.75 ounces) whole-wheat flour
- 1/3 cup roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (see headnote)
- 1/3 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds
- 1 packet (1 1/4 teaspoons will be used) instant, fast-rising or bread-machine yeast
- For the bread
- 1 jar bread mix
- 1 1/4 teaspoons yeast (measured out from the jar's enclosed packet)
- 1 1/3 cups ice water (add ice cubes to cold water and stir for 30 seconds before measuring), plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons corn or canola oil, plus more for greasing the loaf pan and the top of the unbaked bread
Place the flour on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Use the foil as a funnel to pour the flour into a 1-quart jar or container. Rap the jar on the counter to even out the layer.
Combine the 1/2 cup of cornmeal, sugar, flax seeds and salt on the foil. Add to the jar and rap on the counter to even the layer. Add the whole-wheat flour to the jar and rap to even the layer.
Combine the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cornmeal in a small, sturdy plastic bag; close tightly. Push the bag and the yeast packet into the neck of the jar. If the mix will be shipped, stuff crumpled wax paper into any extra space at the top of the jar. Provide a sheet or card with the following recipe directions to go with the jar or use our <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/foodanddining/graphics/KneadlessPumkinSunflowerYeastBread.pdf" target="_blank">printable version</a> (PDF).
Kneadless Pumpkin and Sunflower Yeast Bread: Remove the yeast packet and seed packet from the jar. Set the seeds aside, as they will not be added until just before the second rise.
For the first rise, combine the remaining contents of the jar and 1 1/4 teaspoons of the yeast from the packet in a large mixing bowl. Discard the remaining yeast or save for another use.
Vigorously stir together 1 1/3 cups ice water (add ice cubes to cold water and stir for 30 seconds before measuring) and 2 tablespoons of corn or canola oil, then add to the dry mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl and stirring until completely blended. If the dough is too dry to mix, gradually add enough ice water to moisten the mixture; the dough should be hard to stir. Brush the top with a little vegetable oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap. For best flavor, if you have time, refrigerate the dough for 3 to 10 hours, then let rise at cool room temperature (about 70 degrees) for 12 to 18 hours. Otherwise, leave the bowl at cool room temperature and let rise for 12 to 18 hours.
For the second rise, generously oil a 9-by-5-inch (2-quart) loaf pan. Stir the dough, sprinkling over and incorporating a generous half of the pumpkin seed mixture; the remaining seed mixture will garnish the loaf. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the remaining pumpkin seed mixture intp the pan, then tip it back and forth to coat the pan sides and bottom. Turn out the dough into the pan. Brush the top lightly with oil, then smooth out the dough and press it into the pan with oiled fingertips.
Sprinkle the remaining pumpkin seed mixture over the top, pressing down very firmly all over to deeply imbed the seeds in the dough. Cover the pan with plastic wrap that has been coated with nonstick cooking oil spray.
Let rise using either of two methods: For a 1 1/2- to 3-hour regular rise, let stand at warm (74 to 75 degrees) room temperature; or, for a 45-minute to 2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in a turned-off microwave along with 1 cup of boiling-hot water.
When the top of the dough rises close to the plastic wrap, remove the wrap and continue the rise until the dough extends 1/2 inch above the pan rim.
Fifteen minutes before you are ready to bake the bread, place a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees. Sprinkle or spritz the top of the unbaked bread with water.
Bake on the lower rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until the loaf is nicely browned, then cover the top with foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out with just slightly moist particles clinging to the bottom portion. Bake for 5 minutes to ensure the center is fully done. Transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely.
The unopened mix can be stored at room temperature for 1 1/2 months, and for up to 3 months if refrigerated. The baked bread can be wrapped in a tea towel and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days.
From cookbook author Nancy Baggett.
Tested by Randy Richter.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.