Here’s the recipe I promised yesterday. I was looking for a bread to complement a sandwich I was contemplating and as soon as I saw this one including onions and mustard seeds, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. The fact that it had a pretty braid made it all the more appealing. The baked bread has a chewy crumb and crunchy crust and is not overwhelmed by the addition of onions – in fact, next time I’m going to include a whole onion. A wonderful sandwich bread, but also delicious alongside soup, stew or salad.
Onion and Mustard Seed Braid
One large loaf
1 tbsp. black (or yellow) mustard seeds
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tsp. dry active yeast
1 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2+ warm water
In a small skillet on medium-high heat, toast the mustard seeds for a few minutes, then add a splash of water or vegetable broth and saute the onions until soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yeast, molasses and 1/2 cup of the water. Let stand until foamy. Meanwhile, whisk together the flours and salt in a large bowl. When the yeast is foamy, add it to the flour mixture along with the remaining 1 cup of water and the onion mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms, adding water or flour as necessary.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Allow dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Punch the dough down and knead for a minute. Then divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Place the three pieces next to each other on the baking sheet and braid them, tucking the ends under. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rise until nearly doubled.
Preheat the oven to 450F. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden on top and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing.
(This delicious bread recipe was inspired by one in Vegetarian Bible, by Sarah Brown. I believe it’s out of print, but used copies are still out there. This is a great cookbook and resource, though a touch heavy on the cheese. Many of the recipes are adaptable to vegan diets. For this recipe I increased the amount of whole wheat flour and used molasses instead of brown sugar.)