To create a great crostini (“little toast”) you need a great foundation of bread you build it on. You can buy commercially baked bread at nearly every market, but bread is really one of the simplest recipes to make, just a few ingredients, a little technique and your house will be filled with the wonderful aroma of fresh baked bread. It does take a while to wait for the rising process, but if you have the time the reward is worth it.
I developed this recipe to incorporate the goodness of whole wheat flour and flax seed, providing a hearty texture and slightly nutty flavor. I especially like to use this bread grilled and topped with a Giada’s sweet pea spread of green peas, parmesan, garlic and olive oil. The sweet pea spread and the nutty flax seed flavor of the bread work well together and the earthly color of the bread against the vibrant green peas look like the springtime garden.
Whole Wheat Flax Seed Baguette
By Debra Crawford
Makes one loaf
1 1 /2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All Purpose Unbleached Bread Flour
1/4 Cup Flax Seed – Slightly Ground
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 ¼ Teaspoons Dry Yeast (1 envelope)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Sugar, Agave or Honey
1 – 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Cornmeal (to sprinkle on the baking sheet) optional
¾ Cup Hot Water (approximately 110 – 120 degrees)
Grind your flax seeds until the seeds are broken, but not pulverized as you want your bread to have some texture from the flax seeds. A blender or coffee grinder works best for this application.
Mix together the whole wheat flour and the rest of dry ingredients, except for the all-purpose flour. Run the hot water at your sink and test it with the inside of your wrist. When it feels hot to the touch, but not burning, it should be at the right temperature. Start your mixer and add the wet ingredients. Beat for about 2 minutes then slowly add the AP flour until the dough starts to come together.
Turn onto a floured bread board and knead thoroughly, sprinkling with flour if the dough becomes too sticky. When the dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 8 minutes, cover with a bowl or a dish towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Roll dough into a 12” x 15” rectangle, and then roll up like a jelly roll, moisten the edge with water and pinch the seam firmly together. Lightly dust a large sheet pan with a little corn meal to keep the bread from sticking and lay the loaf seam side down. Cover and let rise another hour or until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
When the dough is ready for the oven, score lightly with a sharp knife several times and then bake in a 425 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.
For best crostini results, cool bread thoroughly, slice at an angle and brush one side with olive oil. Grill on a stovetop grill or toast in the oven until golden, then flip and repeat the process.
Top with the green pea spread (link below) or other topper ideas such as sundried tomato mixed with goat cheese, salami and a slice of brie and roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms and garlic topped with freshly grated parmesan, or eggplant tapenade. Wrap any unused portions of bread, it will last several days.