I love this loaf. I keep coming back to it, time and again, year after year. Sometimes, when I need variety, I switch to something else for a season, but then I’m back. It’s just, simply, terrific. Thanks to ATK for this one. From America’s Test Kitchen Favorite Recipes, 2007.
1 ¼ c. 7 grain hot cereal mix
2 ½ c. boiling water
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. whole wheat flour
4 T. honey
4 T. butter, melted
2 ½ t. instant yeast
1 T. salt
¾ c. unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seed
½ c. old-fashioned oats
Place the cereal mix in the bowl of a standing mixer (Kitchen Aid or equivalent) and pour the boiling water over it. Let it stand, stirring occasionally, until the mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about one hour. Whisk the flours together in a medium bowl.
Once the grain mixture has cooled, add the honey, melted butter, and yeast and stir to combine. Attach the bowl to a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook. Wither the mixer running on low speed, add the flours, ½ c. at a time, and knead until the dough forms a ball, 1 ½ -2 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 20 minutes. Add the salt and knead on med-low speed until it clears the sides of bowl (3-4 min.). If it doesn’t clear, add 2-3 T flour and continue mixing. Continue to knead the dough for 5 more minutes. Add the seeds and knead for 15 seconds. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead it by hand until the seeds are dispersed evenly and the dough forms a smooth, taut ball. Place the dough into a greased container with a 4-qt. capacity. Cover the container with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with nonstick spray. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a 12 x 9 rectangle. Cut the dough in half crosswise with a knife or bench scraper.
Working with one piece of dough, with the short side facing you, roll the dough piece into a log, keeping the roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go. To seal the loaf, pinch the seam gently with your thumb and forefinger. Spray the loaf lightly with water or vegetable oil spray and then roll it in an even coating of oats. Place the loaf seam-side down in one of the prepared loaf pans, pressing the dough gently into the corners. Cover the loaf lightly with plastic wrap and repeat this process with the remaining piece of dough and oats.
Let the loaves rise until almost doubled in size, 30-40 minutes. (The dough should barely spring back when poked with your knuckle.) Bake the loaves until the internal temperature registers 200 on an instant read thermometer, about 35-40 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool them on a wire rack before slicing, about 3 hours.