Multigrain Bread

Today marks the second anniversary (and the 250th recipe!) of this blog. It feels surreal to know that I've sat down at this computer three times a week for the last two years to share photographs, recipes, and stories with you. When I started this blog, it was on a whim. I knew nothing about cameras or photographing food, very little about creative writing, and wouldn't have referred to myself as a baker to anyone. It's funny how a couple years can completely turn those statements around.

I caught myself looking back over old recipes this afternoon. I remember much of the inspiration and emotions surrounding each and every one, surprising even myself. It's the words and stories that have slipped my mind. Traveling back in time, sometimes I impress myself with my posts, scarcely believing the words on the page spilled out from my fingertips; other times I want to bury my face in my hands, embarrassed that I displayed such an awful photograph for all of you to see. They say that artists are their own worst critic and I am inclined to agree.

The most important thing I've learned about blogging is that it's a journey, not a destination. It's easy for blogging to become a list of mentions or a number of subscribers. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the reasons I started blogging in the first place. Blogging is a work in progress (and, to some extent, always will be).

Inspiration is the life blood of blogging. I let myself get swept away with the works of my favorite food photographers and writers. I try to push myself with food photography every time I'm behind a camera lens. I write in hopes of finding my elusive voice, wherever it may be hiding. I never let myself stray too far from the kitchen. As soon as I feel comfortable with where I am, I take a peek at the photographs of Katie Quinn Davies or open a book and read the words of Sue Monk Kidd and realize I have miles and miles left to go.

I love the journey.

Most importantly, I want to thank you. You continually inspire me with your emails and comments. You make me smile when I learn you've experimented with my recipes in your own kitchen. You refuse to let me forget all of the reasons I love blogging, especially needed on those long nights when I'm up late editing photos. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now, who is ready to find out what the next year will bring?

Multigrain Bread is a hearty, healthy bread that's fitting for both special occasions and everyday eating. The bread is made with a mixture of bread flour, whole wheat flour, and oats. To give it a more diverse texture, sunflower and flax seeds are kneaded into the dough. Sliced thin, multigrain bread works well for sandwiches or toasted with a spread of butter for breakfast.

Two Years Ago: Chocolate Coconut Granola

Multigrain Bread

Yields 1 loaf

2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons flax seed (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoons salt
12 ounces barely warm water
Sunflower seeds, flax seed, and oats, for garnish

In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), whisk together the flours, oats, seeds, yeast, and salt. Gradually add the water and mix until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry and will not come together, add small amounts of water until it does. Conversely, if the dough is too sticky, add flour until it becomes workable. Knead the dough for ten minutes, or until elastic.

Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 2-3 hours. Punch down the dough and allow it to set for another 10 minutes before turning out the dough onto a clean surface. Shape the dough into a log or cylinder, trying to keep the dough an even thickness. Place the dough into a 9x5-inch loaf pan sprinkle with sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and oats. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for another 30-40 minutes, or until it doubles in volume.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is lightly browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to cool down before slicing.