Dakota Bread

I enjoy making bread, but rarely make yeast breads.  It’s just not something we made often while I was growing up.  Instead, we would focus on quick breads.  Banana bread, squash bread, and even zucchini bread were frequently on the table as an after-school snack  or accompaniment to a meal.
A couple of years ago, I started to make a few yeast breads.  If I’m going to go through the work of making a yeast bread, letting it rise, punching it down, and more, I am often also wanting to make something that is a bit unique.  Dakota bread, which I also feel is very Midwestern, is a great bread to fit the bill.
In addition to the Potato Bread I made last summer, this Dakota Bread recipe comes from the Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland cookbook.  I’ve made it several times, but don’t think I have a photo yet.  The next time I make it, I’ll make sure to take a photo of the bread.
Filled with seeds, hearty grain, and more, this is a great bread on which to make a sandwich, or to eat with a warm soup.  It reminds me of something they would serve at Café Latte in St. Paul, Minnesota.  For now, the next time you need a hearty bread recipe, think about this Dakota Bread.

Dakota Bread
2 cups warm water
2 scant tablespoons yeast (instant or active dry)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cracked wheat
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or more for kneading)
1/2 cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon raw sesame seeds

1 beaten egg

In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, oil, and cracked wheat and allow to proof about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the yeast is light and bubbly. Add the salt, whole wheat and white flours, and stir to combine.

Knead by hand, or, using a dough hook, knead in a stand mixer for five to ten minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Mix the seeds together and sprinkle them over the dough, reserving a few tablespoons to sprinkle over the loaves before baking. Then knead the seeds into the dough. (If you use the stand mixer, finish kneading by hand for a minute).  Turn the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel, and allow the dough to rise until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Press the dough into a rectangle and give it a business-letter turn. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
Place baking stone on rack in lower third of oven (I generally use a cooking sheet, since I don’t have a baking stone), and preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Divide the dough and shape it into two round loaves on lightly floured parchment paper. Let rise 25 to 30 minutes. Brush the loaves with a beaten egg and sprinkle on any remaining seeds. Slash the tops of the loaves with a razor blade or sharp knife.
Carefully place the loaves, still on parchment, on the baking stone. Add steam by spritzing water in the oven, putting ice cubes on a preheated pan, or adding about a half-cup boiling water in a preheated pan.  Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely browned and sound hollow when tapped.
Remove the loaves from the oven and cool on wire racks.

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