Monday, May 14, 2012

Late, but in Transit

Until I moved to Missoula, Montana a few years ago the only other time I lived more than a few hours away from my mom was during my semester abroad in Newfoundland, Canada.  We were next door neighbors in a few different places, and I could always stop in when ever I wanted, drink cups of coffee, sneak bites of ice cream and spend hours talking, sitting on the kitchen counter while sinking my teeth into slices of bread with Nutella.
For months now, I have had a borrowed book laying across my cookbooks in my oh-so-far-away kitchen with the intent of sending the ingredients and instruction of one of the recipes to my mother for Mother's Day.  In spite of all the thinking and planning, the actual doing, of course, is a little on the late side.  The book is Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World.

Sylvan gleefully helped me measure out the ingredients, grind them and bag them up.

On Mother's day, I still had three little bags with bows and hand stitched tags sitting on my kitchen counter.  They finally have been put in a box and sent half way across the country to hopefully surprise my mother in her kitchen.
They are the ingredients for a dense, dark, delicious sunflower seed bread.
The recipe is called Serious Bread or, more accurately, Vollkornbrot.
I remember how elated my mother was when she discovered the dark dense sunflower seed bread at the local little grocery store in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  It, and Nutella, finally both reached middle America and are a perfect combination of delicious memories echoing the time we spent living in Germany.  So, I am sending her her own, homemade sunflower seed bread which is surprisingly easy to make.  I make it regularly now and slather it with butter and cheese or a thick layer of Nutella.
I, ironically, have to convert the weights from ounces to grams so I can use the kitchen scale my grandmother gave me.
So, here is the entire recipe with both ounces and grams.


4 1/2 ounces (127.6 grams) wheat berries, cracked
4 1/2 ounces (127.6 grams) rye berries, cracked

4 1/2 ounces (127.6 grams) wheat flour
4 1/2 ounces (127.6 grams) rye
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon yeast (or 3 tablespoons sourdough starter)
2 1/2 ounces (70 grams) wheat berries

1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons barley malt syrup (I always use molasses instead)
a hand full of rolled oats

Day 1
- if using yeast, dissolve it in the water
- combine the cracked wheat and rye berries, the wheat and rye flour, salt in a bowl and add the yeast/water mixture
- in a separate bowl, cover the wheat berries with water and let soak
- let sit overnight

Day 2
- drain the wheat berries, if needed) and add them to the large bowl with all of yesterdays ingredients
- add the flax, sunflower seeds and molasses to the dough, stir until well incorperated and let sit for another 3 to 8 hours

- butter a loaf pan and dust with rolled oats
- turn the dough out into the loaf pan and smooth the top
- put into a cold oven, turn on the oven to 425 *F and bake for 40 minutes
- cover the loaf with alluminum foil and bake for an aditional 40 minutes
- take the bread out of the pan right away and cool on a rack as the loaf improves if it is left to cool undisturbed

I hope that in a few days, when I am eating the last few slices of the bread I made, she will be pulling her first warm loaf out of the oven and it can be an experience we share even though we are thousands of miles apart.


  1. Oh, perfect! I need to make bread, and have been wanting to try something new. This will be just right!

    1. I usually use the sourdough starter instead of yeast, but I know that my mom dosen't have one, so the only difference would be that you add the starter and the water to the grains and omit the yeast. It also doesn't make the hollow sound that most yeast breads make, so just trust that it is done. :) Let me know how it turns out.

  2. You are SO SWEET!!!! Love you!

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  4. By the way, I was SO HAPPY to get the bread mix, and to see the picture of Sylvan helping put it all together. Wish I could hug ALL of you : )

    1. Yeah! Let me know what you think. I love it... obviously, or I wouldn't have sent it to you. Can you buy rye grains at any of the stores in Stillwater? I would mail you a bunch if they don't.