When you have good butter you really need some good bread to enjoy it with. In such cases bread and butter becomes a real treat. When I was little Mum would feed my brother and I bread and butter as a snack if we said we were hungry – it’s good wholesome food for growing kids but not exciting enough that we’d ask for it when we weren’t really hungry. I used to love having a piece of hot buttered toast with a glass of milk before bed and, although I’ve long since given up bedtime snacks, I still enjoy my bread and butter. I spoiled myself to some wonderful raw butter from Isigny-sur-mer, it’s so creamy, almost a little farmy in flavour, and is flecked with big, crunchy grains of sea salt from Guérande. I’ve been happily spreading it on the lowliest of bread including the scraps of crust leftover from my blackberry and sloe gin puddings but I can’t help but feel it deserves something more. Something with a little more sophisticated than a slice of Hovis.
So in order to eat more of my lovely butter I made some malty, multi-seed bread, malty in that it’s made with malted flour and deliciously sticky malt extract and multi in that it contains sunflower, flax and poppy seeds. I’m particularly fond of poppy seeds; their name is the perfect descriptor since they feel like tiny explosions in your mouth. The flavour of the seeds compliments the dough’s malty depth and, especially since some fo the flour is wholemeal, the resulting loaf is really wholesome, looks pretty and goes well with a bowl of soup or a chunk of strong cheddar and an apple. The dough is quite heavy (not really a technical term that) and takes longer to rise than an ordinary white loaf, you can tell it’s ready when it’s doubled in size and, when you poke it, the indentation remains and doesn’t pop back out.
Malty, multi-seed bread
- 300g malted bread flour
- 100g strong white flour
- 100g strong wholemeal flour
- 7g instant dried yeast
- 100g sunflower seeds
- 100g poppy seeds
- 50g sesame seeds
- 380ml warm water
- 5g salt
- 2 tbsp malt extract
In a large bowl mix the flours, yeast and most of the seeds (save a few tablespoons to sprinkle over the top).
Dissolve the salt and malt extract in the warm water and stir into the flour to form a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes.
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Gently knock back the dough, shape into a ball and pat into a round. Cover and leave to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes untill doubled in size. Brush with a little water and sprinkle over the remaining seeds. Slash with a sharp knife (make the cuts deep – about 2/3 through – if you want to be able to tear the finished loaf into wedges.
Bake at 200°C for 1 hour until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool completely before serving.