Some people face their fears by jumping out of planes or white water rafting or mountain climbing. Me? I eat stuff with nuts and seeds. Okay, it may not be as glamorous or exciting but for sheer drama (as in whinging or moaning about it), it can’t be beat. I do it because I hate nuts and seeds. Hate with the fire of a thousand burning suns. But let’s face it, the world is not kind to nut-and-seed haters. Everywhere you go, there they are. And frankly, having to constantly ask “Does this have nuts/seeds?” gets to be old after a while, especially when you have to explain no, you’re not allergic (which I would never say because it does a disservice to people who really ARE allergic), you just don’t like them and people give you The Look in response. (I wouldn’t dare throw in that I don’t particularly like chocolate because that would put me in the same league as people who are mean to kittens and puppies.) It’s tough being me, with all of my first-world problems. Yes, it is. So I’ve been trying really, really hard to learn to like nuts and seeds. I fail miserably most of the time, but I keep trying. Over the years, I’ve grown to tolerate small seeds like sesame or poppy and I can eat cashews and pistachios if I have to. It’s a texture thing more than a taste thing (although some nuts like walnuts are just an abomination every which way) so when nuts and seeds are in things like baked goods…just…no. It’s almost gag-worthy.
And yet, here we are with a post about a seeded quick bread, a bread that’s got more seeds in one slice than I’ve probably eaten in the past 10 years. Why? Because this month’s theme for #TwelveLoaves is…you guessed it…seeds. I could have wussed out and thrown a couple of teeny seeds on top of an otherwise seed-free bread but I dove right into the deep end with this one. It was just waiting for me to hate it. Daring me. Mocking me, even. But I went for it. Part of my aversion therapy.
On the plus side for this bread is the fact that I don’t think it could be faster or easier to make, even for a quick bread. You’ll probably spend more time reading this than you will making it. It’s a good bread for a lazy Saturday (I was baking in my jammies—yeah, that kind of lazy). A couple of bowls, a few measuring things, a stir or two, a loaf pan, into the oven and there you have it. But quick and easy doth not a good bread make. The big question, of course, is…How does it taste?
As much as I hate to admit it, it’s really not bad. It’s very hearty, surprisingly moist, a little messy what with seeds flying all over the place, but really…not bad, especially slathered with sweet butter and some homemade plum jam. The caraway wasn’t at all overwhelming, which I was a little afraid of. It was actually gave the bread a very subtle but pleasing flavor. I was okay with the flax, caraway and sesame seeds, but the sunflower seeds are still a big no for me and if I were to make this again (not out of the realm of possibility), I’d probably try something small in their place. I’m still a bit biased though—and “not bad” isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement—so in the interests of objectivity, I asked Mr. Dough, who doesn’t share my aversion to nutty, seedy things, to give the official thumbs up or down. And he liked it. A lot. There you have it.
If you love seeds (and even if you’re kind of meh about them), this is definitely a bread for you. So next time you’ve got five minutes to spare, throw a loaf together, grab some butter and jam and have a go. I don’t think you’ll be sorry. And don’t forget to check out the links to see what the other TwelveLoafers were up to this month.
savory seeded quick bread
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds toasted
- 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 2 tablespoons flaxseeds
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk room temperature
- 3/4 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds toasted
- 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1 teaspoon flaxseeds
- Spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- In a bowl, mix together the flours, seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, blend the milk, buttermilk, oil and honey and stir until the honey is dissolved.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat together until fully incorporated and no dry bits remain.
- Transfer the batter to the loaf pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with the seed topping.
- Bake for about 1 hour or until a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, cool in the pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool.
- The bread will keep for about a week at room temperature.
I got all crunchy-granola-y and milled my own spelt flour. I sifted about 1/2 cup to make a clear flour and left the rest whole grain.
I toasted the sunflower seeds in a small cast-iron pan until they started to show a bit of golden color. Keep an eye on them when toasting because they go from just right to cinders in no time.
I measured the oil then used the same tablespoon to measure the honey. No sticking! I also added the honey to the oil when preparing my ingredients (I’m forcing myself to get better at mise en place) so it was already dissolved when I added it to the rest of the wet ingredients.