Sunflower Seed Bread

I think of myself as a practical person, as someone with a realistic outlook towards life. I partake in the activities that society says I should be doing: finishing my degree, paying the bills, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and making frequent trips to the gym (even when I do not want to go). I do these things because they are practical and sensible. I structure my life around all of these sense-making activities to the point where I need the occasional reminder that it is okay to be impractical once in awhile. To be reminded that every one of my actions does not need useful purpose.

To be reminded that doing something wild can be freeing.

As a result of my practical ways, I rarely spend money on things that I do not need. While I would call myself frugal, my mother would refer to me as cheap. Reluctantly, I agree that may be the proper title. I can count on one hand the items I bought myself in the last couple years that did not have a specific purpose (that were, in all honesty, just for fun). I save my money for a trip around the world, for a rainy day, for an adventure of the kind that appears when I close my eyes to daydream. I save it for a day that is not today.

And I wonder, will that day be tomorrow? Will that day ever come at all?

When I came across the old Chinese proverb—When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other—it was a gentle push, a voice to remind me that beauty may not clothe or feed me, but it nourishes another part of me that can easily be forgotten—my soul. Have I become so rooted in practical behavior that I have forgotten that it is okay to stray from that norm? I want to believe I have not; I have to believe that it cannot be true. At the same time, I worry my actions say otherwise. When was the last time I bought a handful of flowers to enjoy in a vase in the light of the setting sun? When was the last time I purchased a silly game to play to remind myself to relax? When was the last time I ran away for a weekend because it was finally right for me to open my eyes and turn my daydreams into a reality? It is time to start.

I have my loaf of bread. I have a hundred loaves of bread. Now all I need to find is a lily.

Sunflower Seed Bread is a hearty, whole grain loaf that makes a filling accompaniment to a meal. The bread is dotted with roasted sunflower seeds and flax seeds, which gives it a nutty taste and unique texture. As a quick bread, it does not deal with the fuss that can come with yeast, making it a quick loaf to bake before a meal. While I preferred the bread with a thick layer of strawberry jam, a spread of butter and honey or a side of gravy would do it justice.

One Year Ago: Mai Tai & Hawaii
Two Years Ago: Snow Cones

Sunflower Seed Bread
Adapted from Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook

Yields 1 loaf

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (240 grams) whole wheat flour
3/4 cup (100 grams) roasted & salted sunflower seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 cup (40 grams) flax seeds, plus extra for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (85 grams) honey
4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups (355 ml) milk

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

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the eggs, honey, melted butter, and milk until uniform. Add to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is just incorporated.

Place into a lightly greased loaf pan, sprinkle with additional seeds, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until browned and the crust makes a hollow sound when tapped. Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing to cool completely.

Serve with butter and honey, a spread of jam, or a side of gravy.