Surprise! This blog still exists! I’ve still been baking, just less often, and nothing new or exciting. I’ve been super busy with school and work. Since I’d been so busy and stressed, Evan bought me a brand new bread book! It definitely cheered me up a ton. He bought me The Bread Baker’s Apprentice and I highly recommend it. It’s almost more of a basic textbook on baking – it has lots of great recipes, but it also goes into depth about baker’s math and understanding the ratios of ingredients that go into different basic types of bread. I’m still reading through it and working on really understanding the concept of the baker’s percentage formula, and it’s a great read.
It took me a few weeks to find the time to actually try one of the recipes from this book. I decided to try the recipe for “Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire” because I’ve been wanting to try a multigrain bread, and the description claims that this bread makes the best toast in the world. So I had to try it.
Multigrain Bread Extraordinare
- 3 tablespoons or 1 ounce of coarse cornmeal, millet, quinoa or amaranth
- 3 tablespoons or .75 ounces of rolled oats of wheat, buckwheat or triticale flakes
- 2 tablespoons or .25 ounces of wheat bran
- 1/4 cup of 2 ounces of water at room temperature
- 3 cups of 13.5 ounces of unbleached high gluten or bread flour
- 3 tablespoons or 1.5 ounces of brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of .38 ounces salt
- 1 tablespoon or .33 ounces of instant yeast
- 3 tablespoons or 1 ounce of cooked brown rice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons or 1 ounce of honey
- 1/2 cup or 4 ounces of buttermilk or milk
- 3/4 cupo r 6 ounces of water at room temp
- About one tablespoon of poppy seeds or sesame seeds for topping, optional
- Make the soaker the day ahead. The water will just cover the grain, hydrating it slightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight to initiate enzyme action. It’ll look like this:
- To make the dough the next day, stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt and yeast. Add the soaker, rice, honey, buttermilk and water. Stir until the ingredients form a ball. Add a few drops of water if the flour remains separate.
- Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough and knead for about 12 minutes, sprinkling in flour if needed to make a dough that is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky. The dough will smooth out and become slightly shiny. The dough should pass the windowpane test and be about 77 – 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Press the dough into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, 6 inches wide, and 8 to 10 inches long. Your bench scraper is really helpful for making these measurements. Form the dough into a loaf by rolling the rectangle from the short end, pinching the seam with each rotation. Pinch the final seam closed with your thumbs, and rock the loaf to even it out. Don’t pinch the ends. Place into a lightly oiled 9×5 pan. Mist the top with water and sprinkle with seeds if desired. Mist again with oil and cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for another 90 minutes or until nearly doubled in size. The dough should fully crest the top of the loaf pan, doming about 1 inch above the pan in the center.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Bake for about 20 minutes. Rotate the pan in the oven and bake for another 20 to 40 minutes. The bread should be at least 185 to 190 degrees in the center, be golden brown and make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
- Remove the finished loaf from the pan immediately and cool on a rack at least 1 hour, preferably 2, before slicing (yeah, right).
Results! I loved this bread. I thought it was absolutely delicious. The seeds on top really gave it some great flavor and I liked the way it looked – it baked up nice and round, too, into a nice uniform loaf shape. And it did make delicious toast. And it was good for sandwiches too. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Evan’s favorite. He liked it a lot, but for him, the brown rice gave the bread a little bit of an odd flavor. We made a loaf of multigrain loaf bread later in the week – hopefully I’ll add that to the blog eventually – that Evan liked a lot more.
What I liked most about this recipe, though, is that there are so many options for it. You can vary the grains that you use in the soaker as well as the grains you use in bread. And you can of course top it with whatever you like. I really want to go back and try a few different variations of it. But these are the types of recipes that really appeal to me – I learn one basic technique, but there are lots of options and quick, easy changes to make that will allow me to do basically the same thing, but have a different, equally tasty end product. But for now, this loaf was a very successful first foray into multigrain breads.