Polenta-Millet Sunflower Bread


2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

1 pinch sugar (or drop of honey)

2 1/4 cups warm water (105F - 115F)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup corn oil or sunflower seed oil

1 large egg

1 Tablespoon salt

1/3 cup raw millet

1/2 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

2 cups whole-wheat flour

3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds for sprinking

egg glaze (see below)


1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar (or a drop of honey) over cup of the water. Stir to dissolve and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.


2. In a large bowl, using a whisk, of the workbowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the remaining 1 3/4 cups of water, honey, oil, egg, salt, millet, polenta, sunflower seeds, and whole-wheat flour. Add the yeast mixture and beat for 1 minute. Add the unbleached flour 1/2 cup at a time until a soft dough is formed that just clears the sides of the bowl, switching to a wooden spoon when necessary if mixing by hand.


3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 minutes, adding flour 1 Tablespoon at a time to prevent sticking. The dough will retain a nubby, tacky quality. Place in a greased deep container, turn once to coat the top, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.


4. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and divide into 2 equal portions. Form into rectangular loaves and place in two greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until level with the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes. Twenty minutes before baking, pre-heat the oven to 375F.


5. Brush the tops gently with egg glaze and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake in the preheated oven until crusty and golden, about 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out of the pans to cool on racks completely before slicing.


Yield: 2 loaves



Egg Glaze

1 egg white

1 Tablespoon water

1 dash salt


Whisk all the ingredients together until combined and foamy. Use to glaze uncooked dough before sprinkling with seeds.



Source: Baking Bread Old and New Traditions

By Beth Hensperger