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Nettletown Twists with Salty Seeds

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Nettletown Twists with Salty Seeds

By now, you’ve no doubt noticed that this is not a wild grains recipe, but rather a bread recipe. It formed over the past few weeks and would not be denied. A soft, nutty crumb, a chewy crust, and a puffy disposition makes it the right vehicle for a thick topping of Nettletown Salty Seeds, the star of the show. The braids make an apt metaphor, I think, as life is twisty and unexpectedly bumpy, but also golden and warm and worth savoring.

If full-on yeast bread-baking is not on your agenda, try the Salty Seeds on quick bread recipe (like this one [2]). Delicious.

Prep Time: 3 hours (plus an overnight rest; also includes hands-off resting of the dough)
Bake time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 large rolls or 8 medium rolls

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons wheat bran
1/2 cup water, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon yeast

1/2 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons uncooked farro
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil

All of the starter
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast
all of the farro mixture
2 tablespoons buttermilk powder (or non-fat dry milk)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 to 2/3 cup lukewarm water (90 – 100°F)

1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup Nettletown Salty Seeds (recipe below)

To make the starter:  The night before the bake, combine the ingredients of the starter in a small bowl. Stir to form a loose, craggly dough. Cover and let ferment overnight.

To make the farro:  Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan over high heat. Add the farro and sesame oil, stirring well. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until grains are puffy and tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Chop lightly.

To make the dough:
Combine all of the dough ingredients except water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low until roughly combined. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water and turn speed up one notch until combined. Switch to the dough hook, and let the machine knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes. The dough should be smooth and soft. If dry, add water one teaspoon at a time, allowing to mix thoroughly between additions.

Place the dough in a greased bowl (I use olive oil spray), turning to coat. Cover and leave the dough to rise in a warm spot for 90 minutes, or until doubled.

Punch down dough and move to a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and form a ball. Divide the dough into six equal pieces; set three of them aside.

Roll the first three pieces into equal ropes about 1/2″ thick and 20″ long. Braid the ropes, then slice the braid into 3 or 4 pieces, gently scrimping the ends so the ropes don’t unbraid. Place the twists about 2″ apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining three dough pieces. Cover with a towel and leave to rise for about 45 minutes, or until nice and puffy.

Towards the end of rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F. Thoroughly whisk the egg and water, and brush each twist generously. Sprinkle seed mixture evenly over the rolls. Press lightly to help the seeds adhere to the eggwash. Go over each roll again with the eggwash, gently dabbing with the tip of the brush.

Bake twists for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove twists to a wire rack to cool.

Nettletown Salty Seeds

from Tea & Cookies Blog (no changes made other than to cut the recipe in half)

1 1/2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons pepitas
1 tablespoons sesame seeds (a mix of black and white is nice)
1/2 tablespoon flax seeds (brown or golden)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt (a finish salt such as Maldon’s or coarse gray sea salt is nice)

To make the seeds:   Toast the sunflower and pepitas seeds in a large dry (no oil or butter) pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan constantly. Add the sesame seeds and flax seeds and continue to stir for another 2 minutes. Finally, add the cumin and fennel seeds and continue to stir another 2 minutes. If any of the seeds begin to brown, remove the pan and turn the heat down slightly. If the seeds begin to crackle or sputter, do the same.

The seeds are done when they smell fragrant. This should take about 8 minutes. Remove to a plate and spread out to cool. Mix in the salt before using. Store leftovers in an airtight jar.

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