Sage & Seed Bread

I have been married to my wife for 21 years. She is my best friend, my soul companion, my everything. But I found out something about her recently that kind of rattled me. In fact it shook me to the core and I had to do some major wine drinking soul-searching to come to grips with what I learned.

My wife is not a fan of sage.

I know right? What the hell is that all about? I mean, in a world of hate-worthy things (BMW drivers who don’t use their turn signals, insensitive housemates who leave the sponge in the sink, days when there’s no clean underwear, absolutely everything about Donald Trump, etc.), why would you spend a calorie hating sage? It is so beneficial in fact, I am cribbing this text from WebMD to prove my point:

The leaf is used to make medicine.

Sage is used for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas (flatulence), stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bloating, and heartburn. It is also used for reducing overproduction of perspiration and saliva; and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Women use sage for painful menstrual periods, to correct excessive milk flow during nursing, and to reduce hot flashes during menopause.

Sage is applied directly to the skin for cold sores; gum disease (gingivitis); sore mouth, throat or tongue; and swollen, painful nasal passages.

Some people inhale sage for asthma.

In foods, sage is used as a commonly used spice.

In manufacturing, sage is used as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics.

Holy sacred sage smudging, Batman. You can see why the new-found knowledge that my spouse is a sage-hater has thrown me for a loop. Listen, a strong marriage can weather impossible odds. We’ve been through the ringer a few times. I’m sure we’ll be able to get through this little hiccup just fine.

Pretty sure.

I mean, It may take some therapy. But I’ll try my hardest to forgive her. Unless I find out she doesn’t like chocolate. Can’t make any promises then…

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Sage & Seed Bread

Is it fair to judge a bread on the quality of toast it makes? On this merit alone, you should drop everything and make this delicious bread. Woo!

Prep Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 1 boule
Author Mark Oppenneer

Ingredients

  • 1 scant tablespoon (or one ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ cup warm water about 110 degrees
  • cup warm water about 110 degrees
  • ¾ tablespoon salt
  • 5 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tablespoons seeds of your choice
  • cornmeal or semolina flour

Instructions

  1. Note: this recipe uses a bread cloche.
  2. In a small bowl, stir yeast and sugar into ¼ cup water to soften.
  3. Combine flour, salt, sage and seeds in a large bowl.

  4. Add the yeast mixture and the rest of the water. Mix well adding more flour or water as necessary.
  5. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  6. Dust the dough with flour and place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
  7. Punch the dough down, remove from the bowl, and knead it a few times. Let the dough rest on the counter for about 5 minutes and then shape into a ball.
  8. Place the dough in a well-floured proofing basket, cover with the cloche lid or tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
  9. About 30 minutes before baking, place the cloche base in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Meanwhile, turn the cloche lid upside down over a bowl (so the handle doesn't get in the way) and fill it with water.
  10. When ready to bake, take the cloche base out of the oven and place it on the stove. Sprinkle the cloche base with corn meal or semolina flour. Gently turn the dough onto the cloche base and score the top of the loaf in fancy patterns with a sharp knife.
  11. Place the cloche base with dough into the oven. Empty the cloche lid of water and place it immediately on the base. Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
  12. Remove the cloche lid for the last 5-10 minutes of baking. The internal temperature of the loaf should be about 190 degrees. Immediately remove bread from the cloche base and cool on a rack.

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