Wholewheat Poppyseed Bread

from Food Was Her Country


4 ½ cups lukewarm water 

2 tbsp baking yeast 

½ cup oil (canola is good) 

½ cup honey 

1 tbsp salt 

1 tbsp crushed poppy seeds 

2 ½ cups white unbleached flour 

8–10 cups wholewheat flour


Put the lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl that will hold all of the bread when it is mixed. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and let it sit for about 5 minutes until it dissolves or puffs (different strains do different things). Then stir the mixture. 

Add the oil, honey, salt and poppyseeds, stirring until the salt and honey have disappeared. 

In a separate bowl blend the flours thoroughly. Add the flour to the liquid 1–2 cups at a time. After about 4 cups are added, stir the batter about 100 times to develop the gluten in the wheat. Then, keep adding flour until the dough is kneadable, i.e. can be handled easily and doesn’t stick to your hands. 

Cover the dough with a cloth and let the dough rest about 15 minutes. 

On floured wooden board or countertop, flatten the dough with your hands, pushing it away from you; fold it in half, turn a ¼ turn, flatten again, fold and turn. Keep doing this until bread is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place bread back in mixing bowl, cover, put it in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Punch the dough down in the bowl, turn onto floured surface, and knead a couple of minutes until easy to handle, adding flour if too sticky. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and dust about 1 tablespoon of flour over them. Drop dough into the bottom of 4 oiled coffee cans (or 46 ounce size juice cans). Let rise one more time (slightly less than double their size). 

Place cans in preheated oven. After baking for 35 mins, remove one loaf from the oven. Tap the top; if it sound hollow its done (if not, put it back in for another few minutes).

Makes 4 loaves.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: I grew up on poppyseed bread, slathered with butter – the perfect sidekick to any winter bowl of soup or stew.

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