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I have been looking for an intense seedy bread and found this one recently at Heidi Swanson’s wonderful blog, 101 Cookbooks. She adapted this recipe from ‘River Cottage Everyday’ by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and I have quoted her recipe verbatim. Normally I am not a big fan of soda bread but this one was yummy, dense and chewy… just the way I like my bread! I will try substituting the all-purpose wheat flour with other flours and let you know if I find a winning combination. Also, I made two smaller loaves instead of one large one so my baking time was reduced. A keeper, for sure!

Six-Seed Soda Bread

2-½ tablespoon each of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds and flax seeds.

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1-3/4 cup spelt flour

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1-3/4 cup buttermilk

a bit of extra buttermilk or milk

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. In a small bowl combine all the seeds and set aside.

Sift the flours, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the seeds. Make a well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk and stir until the dough just comes together. If you need to add an extra splash of buttermilk because the dough is too dry, you can. As Hugh says, “Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly for about a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer- you need to get into in the oven while the baking is still doing its stuff.”

Place the dough on a lightly floured baking sheet and mark it with a deep cross across the top, cutting two-thirds of the way through the loaf with a serrated knife. Brush with buttermilk and sprinkle with the remaining seeds, making sure that plenty of seeds make it down into the cracks. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the bread is golden crusted on top and bottom (you may want to move the oven rack up for the last 15 minutes if you need more color on the top of the loaf.) Cool on a wire rack.

Makes a single loaf.