Carob, Barley and Rye Bread, with Cinnamon and Sunflower Seeds

Carob flour is deeply dark and even a quarter cup mixed with seven cups of white and whole wheat flours results in this dark brown bread. I guess I needed at least three times as much cocoa powder to get close to that color.

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Makes 4 baguettes

1 cup barley flour
1 cup rye flour
1/4 cup carob flour
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds, ground in the blender
2 packages instant dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 teaspoons Bread Spice mixture (see note), optional
1/3 cup good olive oil
About 3 1/2 cups water, or more, as needed

In the bowl of a standing mixer combine the flours, the seeds, the yeast, the salt, the cinnamon, the pepper and the spices, if you are using them, and pulse a few times to blend.

Take out the bowl, make a well in the center of the flours and add olive oil and 1 cup water. Process on medium-low for 5 minutes, adding more water as needed to get a dough that ‘cleans’ the sides of the bowl. It should be soft and somewhat sticky.

Oil a large bowl and a piece of plastic wrap. Turn out the dough onto the oiled bowl, cover with the oiled plastic wrap and let stand on the counter for 1 1/2 hour, or until it doubles in volume.

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Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and using a large spatula invert it carefully; you don’t want to completely deflate it. Quarter the dough with a large dough scraper and shape each piece into a baguette long as your pan. Do this fast, because the dough needs to be left alone to rise again.
Cover loosely the baguettes with oiled plastic wrap and let them rise for 45 minutes.

At least 20 minutes before baking the breads, preheat the oven to 375°F (200°C).
Discard the plastic and, using scissors, cut deep slashes on the surface of the baguettes, sprinkle generously with water and transfer to the oven.

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Bake for 20 minutes, then lower the heat to 350ºF (180ºC).

Wearing oven mitts change the position of the breads, as the ones on the sides bake faster. Continue baking another 10 minutes, or more, until done. If you are not sure you can check with a meat thermometer: the temperature in the center of the bread should be about 215˚F (100°C).

NOTE: My Bread Spice Mixture, inspired by Greek festive breads, contains about 3 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon mahlep, and 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (or fennel seeds or cumin seeds). Grind all the seeds in a spice grinder or a clean coffee grinder.

You can make more and keep the spice blend in a sealed jar to add to any bread, savory or sweet.

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