Sour Dough Whole Grain Bread

My husband loves fresh duck eggs, he prefers those over chicken eggs any day. The problem is duck eggs are $6.99 a dozen which can get pretty pricey if you’re buying them regularly. Also, they’re not always readily available in stores.

So, I decided to find someone to barter with. It just so happens that our neighbors had a friend who has lots of ducks and an overabundance of duck eggs. So, I talked to him about trading him a loaf of my fresh homemade bread each week for a dozen of his fresh duck eggs. He was totally into it he loved the idea and now we trade each week a dozen or 18 duck eggs for a 2lb loaf of my fresh homemade whole wheat bread.

I thought you might enjoy having the recipe that he and his partner enjoy so much. It’s a flavorful dense loaf, a 2 pounder, and I make it even easier to do by utilizing my bread machine to do most of the heavy lifting.

First you’ll want to make a poolish which is a fermented starter that you’ll want to keep on hand for use whenever you make bread.

For the starter begin by combining:

1/4 cup of organic bread flour

1/2 a teaspoon of bread machine yeast or regular yeast

1/2 cup of room temperature spring water

Mix these up well put them in some form of crock or bowl that you can put a lid on or plastic wrap, you don’t want a tight lid, plastic wrap works well or a loose cover. Leave this on your counter overnight and the next morning if you’re not going to use it go ahead and put it in the refrigerator and keep it until you make your bread.

On the morning that you want to make your bread take your starter out of the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature. You’re going to use a cup of this starter in your bread recipe.

To make the bread:

First, take half a cup of hulled sunflower seeds, or raw pumpkin seeds put them in about 3/4 cup of hot boiling water and let them sit until you’re ready to use them if you cover them it makes them plump up or softens them even more.
If you have a bread machine it makes everything easier so I’m going to tell you how I do it with my bread machine and then I will tell you how to do it without.

In the bread machine pan add:

1 cup starter

3 Tb. non-virgin olive oil

2tsp. bread machine yeast

1/2 cup organic whole rolled oats

1 1/4 cup organic whole bran

2 cups organic bread flour

1/4 cup organic rye flour

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

3 Tb. raw honey or agave

1 cup of water

Add the drained sunflower seeds

Place your pan inside your bread machine and select the dough setting, allow the machine to do all the work for you here. It will work the dough and rise once and generally, it will sound a beep at that point.

While the dough is first being worked check it for consistency, you want a nice firm dough with a shiny surface. You may need to adjust by adding more flour or water. Do so carefully in small increments. This is because different parts of the country have different air temperatures and air moisture and different flours will absorb moisture differently so you will always need to remember to make adjustments during the dough process whether you are making it by hand or in a machine.

Once the dough is ready to remove the pan from the machine. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, remove the paddle, you are going to need the dough. This is the last time you will do this; while adding additional flour to the dough, you will fold the dough over and press and then fold over and press and then fold over and press. That’s the way you need the dough you are working the air bubbles out and working additional flour into the dough because it does come out a little soft. Once you have finished kneading the dough and all the air bubbles are gone, you will then form the dough into a rounded rectangle pinching the bottom edges together so that it stays sealed, fold the ends under and then place it in a well-oiled two-pound loaf pan.

Set your bread aside in a fairly warm but not hot place cover it loosely with a towel. You’re going to want the dough to rise almost doubled in size but what you’re really looking for is the dough to fill the pan and rise about an inch above the edge of the pan. Note: If it rises too quickly it will not develop as much flavor so don’t put it in a hot location to rise.

When your dough is almost ready turn your oven on to 400′ F. When the dough is ready place it in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes. The bread should be done, but you can check it by popping the bread out of the pan, tapping it on the bottom and if you hear a thud it is definitely done. This bread has always baked for me in 30 minutes, in fact, it gets really brown on top sometimes. So be careful not to allow it to bake longer than 30 minutes. Set your bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool make sure it’s completely cooled before you go cutting a slice. I know you will be tempted because it smells amazing, but you want to wait because the bread will tear apart easily if you don’t, and you will not allow it to set up and form its nice crumb or texture.

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