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Using a sponge (starter) to create this bread increases its flavor and enhances its texture.
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) cool water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) pumpernickel flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 cups (9 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (2 3/4 ounces) Harvest Grains Blend or mixed seeds of your choice
To make the sponge: Mix the sponge ingredients together, and let rest at room temperature, covered, for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
To make the dough: Stir down the sponge, and add the salt and flour. Mix and knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic. Knead in the Harvest Grains Blend or your choice of seeds. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat its surface with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, and form it into a ball. Place on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or into an ovenproof crock. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450°F.
Gently but firmly slash the dough across the top, then spritz it with water. Bake the bread for 30 to 35 minutes, until it's deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven and place it on a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf.