The Staff of Life (WBD/WFD 2008)

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summary: seed and grain bread recipe, made with various seeds and grains, corn flour, whole wheat and allpurpose flours; information about World Food Day and World Bread Day; (click on photographs for larger views and more photos)

World Bread Day (WBD 2008): Seed and Grain Bread
World Food Day (WFD 2008)

seed and grain bread Jasmine (Confessions of a Cardamom Addict) pointed out in her post entitled Give a little bit…,

When money is tight, the ‘extras’ go away. And to many people, this includes donations to charity. Unfortunately, it’s times like these where community organisations such as food banks and soup kitchens are hit especially hard: increased usage and decreased donations.

How sadly true this is!

I just looked at the FAO Hunger Map ( and of course am not surprised to see that North America, most of Europe and Australia have less than 5% of their population that is undernourished. Yes, we are the fortunate ones. It’s easy for us to complain about rising costs. But these rising costs are not causing much belt tightening for most of us in this blogosphere.

Even here in the “less than 5%” area, more and more people are having to rely on Food Banks. This past Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada. Thanksgiving in the USA is fast approaching. What better way for us to give thanks than to make donations to those who are less fortunate?

One of my friends lives in a smaller city and each week, bakes bread to take to a nearby soup kitchen. One of my sisters lives in another smaller city and works with a group of volunteers to give home-cooked dinner once a week to local university students. Granted, university students might not be considered by some as “hungry” but take into account the cost of schooling, housing, and the fact that university students are our future. Now, not all of us can afford to do something weekly, but most of us can easily spare some time/money to donate to feed daily bread to the hungry.

And now onto the other daily bread section of this post…

Initially I was going to try making Portuguese corn bread again, using a long bookmarked recipe for Pao de Milho on Jane’s blog “Little Compton Mornings”. However, we didn’t have any multigrain bread left. And I do love multigrain bread for toast in the morning!

Our multigrain bread recipe has a fair amount of rye flour in it. I still haven’t found reasonably priced rye flour so decided to replace the rye flour with wheat flour and some corn flour. This is the great thing about bread recipes. They are pretty forgiving and substitutions can be made fairly easily.

Not that corn flour is particularly inexpensive either. This is the trouble. I do hope that farmers will be encouraged to grow grain for food rather than fuel.

The other disadvantage to corn flour is that it has zero glutens in it so the bread dough was somewhat slacker than it is when it’s made with rye flour. But it still rose well. Ha. Almost a little too well.

After mixing it, I left it to rest for about an hour rather than the 20 minutes I thought I was going to leave it. It had risen considerably and only required about 5 minutes of kneading instead of the 10 to 15 I would have given it.

I did manage to shape it in time though. It was just starting to approach the top of the rising bowl – pretty much perfect amount of rising. Okay, maybe a little bit over-risen….

seed and grain bread Too bad I saw dmsnyder’s (a Fresh Loafian) post entitled The effect of scoring on loaf shape AFTER the bread was already in the oven!

I almost didn’t score it at all – it was on the verge of being over-risen (cough). I was going to score it crosswise but then decided I like the look of the length-wise score. However, if I’d known it would cause the bread to flatten, I would have gone with the crosswise slash – or herring bone. Next time….

Still, in spite of being allowed to overproof, the bread turned out beautifully! It was so pleasing that we decided to use it as cinnamon toast for dessert (after wonderful chicken and vegetable soup made from the carcass of our Thanksgiving roast chicken). When we sliced into it, the aroma was fabulous. I will definitely be making this variation again.

Here is what I did to make the bread:

Seed and Grain Bread
based on a our recipe for Multigrain Bread

makes two large loaves

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ c (60ml) lukewarm water*
  • 2 Tbsp golden flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp brown sesame seeds
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal, very coarsely ground
  • 2 Tbsp millet
  • 2 Tbsp barley
  • 2 Tbsp oat groats
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ c (120ml) boiling water*
  • 2¼ c (560ml) room temperature water
  • leftovers after feeding wild yeast (¼ c??), optional
  • ½ c (120ml) white corn flour
  • 3 c (750ml) wholewheat flour**
  • 3 c (750ml) unbleached all-purpose flour**
  • 4 tsp seasalt
  • unbleached all-purpose flour, for kneading


  1. In a large heatproof mixing bowl, pour boiling water over flax seeds, barley, oat groats, sesame seeds, cornmeal, millet, (use whatever of the extra grains and seeds you have on hand; it doesn’t seem to matter if some are missing or added), oil and honey. Set aside to cool and gather the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, add the yeast and ¼ c lukewarm water. Whisk together until creamy. Set aside.
  3. Pour the rest of the water into the large mixing bowl. Add the flours and the salt. Stir with wooden spoon til dry ingredients are roughly incorporated into the water. Doublecheck that the dough is no warmer than baby bottle temperature, then add the yeast mixture and leftovers (if you have any) from feeding wild yeast to the large bowl. Stir just enough to mix it together. Cover and leave for about 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes has passed, scatter a dusting of flour on your board for kneading the dough. Turn the dough out onto the board.
  5. Wash and dry your mixing bowl. This prepares the rising bowl AND gets your hands clean.
  6. Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes. As you knead, add as little flour as you dare to stop the dough from sticking. Keep scraping any dough that is on the board so the board is always clear. Continue until the dough surrounding the seeds is smooth and silky.
  7. Proofing: Put the dough in the clean mixing bowl. Cover and allow to rise in a no-draught place til it has doubled (1 to 1½ hours). When the dough has doubled, you can either gently push it down and allow it to rise again, or you can shape the dough. A good way to tell if the dough has doubled is to wet your finger and poke a hole in the top of the dough. If the hole fills up, it hasn’t risen enough. If there is a whoosh of air and the dough deflates a little, it has risen too much. If the hole stays in exactly the same configuration and the dough remains otherwise intact, it is ju-u-st right.
  8. Shaping: To shape the bread, turn the dough out onto the lightly floured board. Divide it in two and shape each portion into a rectangle. Fold like and envelope and roll like jelly roll to make two loaves. Put them well apart, seam side down onto a parchment covered peel (you can also use parchment covered loaf tins). Rub the top of each loaf with water and liberally sprinkle sesame seeds over top.
  9. Rising: Cover with a damp tea towel (or plastic wrap) and let rise again to almost double (30 to 45 minutes). To test, flour your finger and press gently on the edge – it should very slowly spring back. For comparison, try pressing early on to see how it quickly springs back when the dough has not risen enough.
  10. Baking: Twenty minutes before you are going to bake, put the stone on the middle rack and turn oven to 450F.
  11. Just before putting the bread in the oven, slash the top of each loaf with a serrated knife.*** Spray the tops of the loaves liberally with water. Slide the bread onto the stone. Immediately turn the oven down to 400F. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes until it is around 210F inside (or hollow sounding on the bottom). You will probably have to turn the bread around once to account for uneven heat in the oven.
  12. Remove bread from oven and allow to cool on a well ventilated rack. Wait til the bread is cool before cutting it. It is still continuing to bake inside!****

*Tap water is fine to use – just make sure that it has stood for at least 12 hours so that the chlorine has dissipated. Under no circumstances should you use water from the hot water tap. Saying that it is unsafe to use water from the hot water tap might be an urban myth, but why tempt fate? Heat the water in a kettle or microwave and add cold water until it is the correct temperature (use the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist – your fingers have no idea of temperature!)

** Please note that a Canadian cup holds 250ml. When I measure flour, I really fluff it up in the bag before scooping out flour to roughly fill the cup. The all-purpose flour is “No Name” unbleached (about 11.5% protein). The whole wheat flour is “Five Roses” (about 13% protein). The white corn flour was purchased at the health food store and should NOT be confused with “corn starch”; it is very finely ground corn meal.

*** Slashing lengthwise will cause the bread to spread out. Slashing crosswise will encourage the bread to rise upward while baking.

**** If you wish to serve warm bread, reheat it after it has cooled completely. To reheat unsliced bread, turn the oven to 500F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread in the hot oven for ten minutes.

The only thing wrong with this bread is that there’s no room in the freezer for it. Nor is there room in the freezer for the banana bread I plan to make soon. Nor room for Jane’s Pao de Milho… hmmm, we may have to break down and get a little chest freezer!

Event: World Food Day (2008)

The cost of food is climbing fast [...] let's remember: food is energy.

World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy” is the World Food Day 2008 theme. World Food Day provides an occasion to once again highlight the plight of 862 million undernourished people in the world. Most of them live in rural areas where their main source of income is the agricultural sector. Global warming and the biofuel boom are now threatening to push the number of hungry even higher in the decades to come. World Food Day 2008

Read more about World Food Day:

empty bowl Please note that there are impoverished and hungry people everywhere in the world. And there are many organizations attempting to feed these people. Here are just a few possibilities. Please look in your community for others:

And don’t forget about these sites online.

Event: World Bread Day (2008)

World Bread Day 2008 Zorra’s (1x umrühren bitte) event Bread Baking Day is on hiatus until 1 December. Here’s why: coinciding with World Food Day, Zorra is once again hosting World Bread Day. She wrote:

Let’s bake and talk about bread on this day again! Everybody is cordially invited to participate.

The theme is open, just bake a bread with or without yeast, use sourdough, experiment with different flours, add some seeds… It’s up to you!

How to participate: […]

  • Bake or buy a bread, take pictures (if possible) and blog about it on Thursday, 16th October 2008. Just one entry per blog, please.
  • Your entry has to be a new post specifically for this event and the post cannot be entered in other food blog events.
  • Submissions can only be accepted until Friday, October 17 [2008].

For more information and complete details on how to participate in World Bread Day, please read the following:

Please also read about previous WBDs:

blog from OUR kitchen posts:

WBD roundups:

And finally, before completing your WBD post, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to read about


This post is partially mirrored on The Fresh Loaf


edit 26 October 2008: Zorra has posted the round-up with 246 entries!!

This entry was posted in baking, BBD, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, crossblogging, food & drink, hunger, posts with recipes on by .

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6 responses to “The Staff of Life (WBD/WFD 2008)

  1. Susan/Wild Yeast

    Lots of good stuff here — the bread and the info. I hope your Thanskgiving was happy. I appreciate your warning on the dangers of bread, reminds me of dihydrogen monoxide

  2. ejm Post author

    Thanks all for your comments. The bread really did turn out well and I’m glad you like the sound of it (I’ll be very interested to hear how it turns out for you, Jude). I just made it again last night (sorry no photos) , put flax seeds on the outside and slashed it in a herringbone pattern. This was an attempt to get the bread to rise upwards rather than outwards. No such luck – it spread out in pretty much the same fashion. It looks nice though. :-)

    But I had a devil of a time getting the 2nd loaf to fit in the freezer… more and more I’m thinking that another freezer might be the answer. Do you have your bread freezer yet, Tanna?

    Thanks for reminding me about the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide, Susan. I had forgotten about that. So many things to be concerned about!! ;-)



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