Prize-winning Braided Hemp Oatmeal Bread


8 oz. water
2 1/2 oz. milk
1 oz. (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 oz. hemp oil
2 oz. maple syrup
2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. barley malt syrup (unhopped)

10 oz. bread flour
2 1/2 oz. whole wheat flour
1/2 oz. rye flour
6 oz. thick rolled oats
3 oz. shelled hemp seed, toasted
1 Tbsp. yeast

1 large egg + a little milk for the wash
2-3 Tbsp shelled hemp seed, not toasted some corn meal to sprinkle on the sheet pan


     This is a fancy three-strand plait braided bread. If you are comfortable with making home made breads this is not a difficult bread to make.

     If your shelled hemp seed is not already toasted, toast it until light brown in an oven preheated to 300° F and let cool. Weigh all ingredients in bread machine work bowl in order above. Start bread machine on a dough setting. Scrape down the work bowl a few times during the initial mixing to get the ingredients off the sides and incorporated in the dough ball. You may need to sprinkle in a little extra bread flour if the dough is too wet or add a little water if it is too dry.

     For the Breadman Ultimate bread machine I prefer the Pizza Dough setting. Do not let the dough rise in the bread machine, but remove it after the second kneading is finished. Shape the dough into a ball and put it into a lightly oiled bowl 4-5 quart bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

     The next day take the dough out of the bowl and divide it into three equal pieces. Roll each of the three pieces of dough into a log shape about 9" long. If the dough is a little sticky flour your work surface lightly. Place next to each other, without touching, on your work surface and cover with a damp tea towel. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. After the dough has rested roll each piece of dough into strands about 20" long. This will take a little practice for them to come out evenly, but it is fun working with dough. Place the three strands parallel with each other and about 1" apart. Then starting in the middle braid the bread to one end and then to the other. Here is a wonderful diagram of Braiding Bread with a three-strand plait.

     Gently place the braided loaf diagonally on a 13"x18" baking sheet, also known as a half sheet pan, that has been sprinkled with some corn meal. Cover with a damp tea towel and let rise until almost double in size. Preheat oven to 380° F. with the rack in the middle of the oven. If you have them put six 6"x6" unglazed quarry tiles on the middle rack in the oven in a 2 by 3 pattern. Uncover your bread and lightly brush it with a wash made from 1 large egg and a little milk beaten with a fork. Sprinkle the top of the bread with 2-3 Tbsp shelled hemp seed. Bake at 380° F for 30 minutes or until the interior temperature of the bread is 190° F.

     Notes: I like to use bread flour and whole wheat flour from King Arthur Flour. I use Fleischmann's Instant Yeast (or Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast) because it can be mixed with dry ingredients. For consistent results I use a scale which is why the ingredients list is only in weight.

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