Sunday, January 8, 2012

MultiGrain Bread

Pure Foods Project MultiGrain Loaves
January is National Bread Machine Month.  It’s also the month of the egg, hot tea, soup, dried plum breakfast (prunes) and oatmeal among others.  Month promoting is popular among American business and cause-related organizations.  It can feel commercial, quirky or quite the right thing to be doing. 

I’ll place National Bread Machines in the right thing for January category.  If you have a bread machine and a freezer, January is a great month to stock up on home made breads.   The bread you bake yourself will be made of pure ingredients and, with a little organization, much can be produced with little effort.  This morning I baked two loaves of rich and light ricotta bread and a loaf of New York rye bread while I took care of some household chores and paperwork.  Most of today’s baking will be stored in the freezer in full or half-loaves when they are cool.

Last year I developed a recipe for a multi-grain loaf that is as moist as it is hearty.  This bread slices well, toasts well, travels well and looks good on a cheese board. I make the dough in my bread machine then form loaves for final rising outside the machine and bake in a traditional oven.  I don’t really mind the squared off loaves bread machines produce but we prefer different shapes for different recipes.  This multi-grain recipe makes two small free-from oval loaves or two long baguettes. 

As a self-trained baker, I used to feel a bit amateurish using a bread machine until I read the very insightful King Arthur Flour Bread Cookbook.  Like the chefs in their test kitchens, I also cook in cold weather, a cool house.  The advantage of making dough in a bread machine is a consistent temperature and humidity level that allows a flawless rise.  Bread machines have taught me what good dough should look and feel like so when I make dough without a machine, I know what a properly developed dough should be.

Following the bread machine recipe is a technique for making the bread by hand—no machine.  Don’t be deterred by the long list of ingredients.  It doesn’t take long to assemble and the moistness of the bread depends on several of the more absorbent grains. 


Ready for the oven



Pure Foods Project MultiGrain Bread
Bread Machine Version
Makes 2 small oval loaves

Ingredients
1 cup water, room temperature
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups bread four
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coarse corn meal
1/4 cup rye flour
1/2 cup 5-grain cereal (flakes)*
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons uncooked hulled millet
1/3 cup buttermilk (or milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil
 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

*Cereal/flakes look like rolled oats.  Typical combinations include spelt, barley, rye, wheat, oat flakes etc.  Bob’s Red Mill and Country Choice Organic are two brands that make multi-grain cereal flakes.  You can make your own combination from the bins at a heath food store as well.

  1. Add the ingredients to the dough bucket in the order your machine manufacturer recommends.  
  2. Set the machine to the dough cycle (usually about 1 hour, 40 minutes—no need to use the artisinal cycle).  
  3. When the dough is ready, remove it from the bucket and divide it in half.  Knead it lightly to form two oval loaves or roll to create two long baguettes.  Set loaves 5 inches apart on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet to rise.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise 45 minutes. 
  4. Preheat oven to 400˚F about 20 minutes before baking.  
  5. Before placing in a 400˚F oven, slit loaves.  A few slits are fine but this bread looks dramatic and beautiful with one vertical slit down the cent of each loaf. 
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads 195˚F. Cool on a rack at least 25 minutes before slicing. 


Pure Foods Project MultiGrain Bread

Hand Kneaded Version
Makes 2 loaves

1 cup water, room temperature
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 cups bread four
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup coarse corn meal
1/4 cup rye flour
1/2 cup 5-grain cereal (flakes)*
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons uncooked hulled millet
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup buttermilk (or milk)
1 tablespoon olive oil

*Cereal/flakes look like rolled oats.  Typical combinations include spelt, barley, rye, wheat, oat flakes etc.  Bob’s Red Mill and Country Choice Organic are two brands that make multi-grain cereal flakes.  You can make your own combination from the bins at a heath food store as well.
  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast with 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon of the brown sugar and yeast. Let mixture sit 8-12 minutes until yeast has proofed and puffed up on the surface.
  2. While the yeast proofs, combine remaining dry ingredients in a second bowl and mix well.  (Everything except remaining buttermilk and olive oil).
  3. When the yeast is ready, add 2 cups of flour mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon. (I turn the spoon upside down and use the handle to create a dough hook effect.)  Dough will be shaggy at this point. 
  4. Stir in buttermilk and olive oil.
  5. Stir in 2-3 more cups of the flour mixture, stirring with spoon handle straight up until ball of dough begins to form and pull away from sides of bowl.
  6. Turn dough onto a clean counter top or board that has been scattered with a handful of the flour mixture.  Knead the dough, adding a bit more flour mixture in as you go until it is all incorporated.  Kneading  will take 8-10 minutes. 
  7. Once kneaded, place dough in a large, clean bowl to rise in a warm place for about an hour.  Cover the bowl with a dishtowel or plastic wrap.
  8. When dough has doubled in size, turn dough onto a clean surface and divide in half.  Form two oval loaves.  Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet (or parchment on a baking sheet). 
  9. Cover loaves with a dishtowel and let rise about 45 minutes.  During last rise, preheat oven to 400˚F.
  10. Before placing in a 400˚F oven, slit loaves.  A few slits are fine but this bread looks dramatic and beautiful with one vertical slit down the cent of each loaf. 
  11. Bake 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reads 195˚F.  Cool on a rack at least 25 minutes before slicing.  
Hand Kneaded Version, 1st rise