The Epicurean Muse

Oh-so-Grainy Wheat Berry Bread

Wheat berries are an excellent source of dietary fiber. The nutrients are left untouched because they are not processed and provide us with folic acid, protein, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E. This lovely loaf can also be made with wild rice, rye berries, whole oats, or triticale.

 For 2 loves


 4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packages) yeast                                                      1 1/2 (300 ml) cups lukewarm water                                                   1/4 cup unsulphured molasses                                                          1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk                                                                  2 teaspoons salt                                                                                1/4 cup (60 ml) melted ghee, butter, or oil                                          2 cups (480 ml) cooked wheat berries or other whole grains              1/2 cup (60 g) wheat germ                                                                3 cups (450 g) whole wheat flour                                                        3 to 3 1/2 cups (420 to 490 g) unbleached white flour


1. Mix the yeast with the water. Allow to stand for 5 minutes and mix again.  

2. Add the molasses, buttermilk, salt, oil, wheat berries, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour. Work in enough unbleached flour to form a soft dough.  

3. Turn out on a floured board. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

4. Place in a large bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it tests done, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

5. Punch down the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Form 2 loaves and place in buttered 9 x 5 x 3-inch (23 x 13 x 7.5 cm) loaf pans.

6. Redampen the cloth, cover the loaves, and allow them to rise again in a warm place - not the oven - until proofed, 30 to 45 minutes.

7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C). Bake the loaves for about 45 minutes. Savor warm with apple butter or tahini. 

Six-seed Soda Bread

One thing I have to admit missing here in Slovakia is soda bread. Craving that flaky, tender, crumbly quality of freshly baked soda bread, I began my search for inspiration on my favorite food blog: 101 Cookbooks ( and created this modified recipe for a whole-grain flour version littered with seeds on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside. The loaf is marked with a deep cut on top of and sprinkled with any seeds that you can find hidden in your fridge: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and fennel seeds. Once the bread came out piping hot from the over, I couldn’t resist devouring ¼ of the loaf with a blueberry-black bean salsa for lunch.


For 1 loaf


 2 1/2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and flax seeds

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 3/4 cup spelt flour

1 cup barely, rice, or soy flour 

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 3/4 cup buttermilk or kefir 


1. Combine the seeds in a small bowl and set aside.

2.  Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the seeds, except for about 2 tablespoons. 

3. Make a well in the flour, pour in the buttermilk or kefir, and stir until the dough just comes together. Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about a minute, just long enough for the dough to pull together (you need to get it into the oven while the baking soda is still working).

4. Place the dough onto a baking sheet sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. Cut a deep cross across the top about one-third of the way through the loaf with a serrated knife. Brush with buttermilk and adorn with the remaining seeds.

5. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the crust is golden. Enjoy on its own, or with a sprinkle of honey and goat cheese for special treat. 


Weekday Spelt Bread

A lovely light bread with the sweet hint of spelt kernels and brown sugar. This 5-minute spelt bread recipe is quick enough to commit to a weeknight.

For 1 loaf 


3 cups organic whole or light spelt flour
    1/8 cup brown sugar
    1/2 tablespoon sea salt
    3 teaspoons dry yeast
    1 3/4 cups warm water
    a handful of flax, sesame, or sunflower seeds


1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees celcius. 

2. Mix dry ingredients together and stir until well mixed. Add the water and keep mixing until the batter is thick and moist.

3. Pour into a greased loaf pan, smooth out the top and sprinkle seeds on top if your heart desired. Cover the pan with plastic wrap greased with a little olive oil) and dampened cloth on top. Allow to rise in a warm place until it has about doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

4. Back at 375 degrees celcius for approximately 45 minutes. Enjoy warm with a generous slather of coconut butter.