Monday, May 30, 2011

My Standard Whole Grain Bread





This is the bread recipe that has become my standard. I was into the no-knead method last year, but now I'm back to taking a whole weekend afternoon to make bread and other things. Mostly just because I'm having a hard time planning to be able to start no-knead dough a day in advance.

While this may not rise very much and is on the dense and crumbly side fresh out of the oven, it makes for excellent crunchy toast, which is how I usually eat bread anyway. Since I can't finish a loaf on my own before it goes stale, I slice and bag it for the freezer, most often having a piece of toast with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast on morning workdays. The variety of grains gives it a complex and nutty taste that goes well with a little butter or peanut butter on top.

I only wish I hadn't accidentally broken my other beautiful loaf pan. I need to get a second one ASAP because now that it's summer, it makes sense to bake two loaves at a time and use the oven less often.

Wholegrain Bread
1 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat bread flour
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup rye
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
About 1 1/2 - 2 cups water total

In a large bowl, stir the yeast and 1/2 cup warm water until the yeast is mostly dissolved in the water. Let sit for about five minutes until you can smell the yeasty aroma that indicates it's working. Dump the grains, salt, olive oil, and honey on top, along with another 1/2 cup of water. Stir to combine and add more water as needed in 1/4 cup increments. With experience, you will learn the consistency you are looking for - wet and pliable but still able to knead and handle without it being too sticky.

I knead right in the bowl, rather than on a cutting board to save on cleanup efforts, for about five minutes. I dust my hands and the dough with flour a few times during kneading as needed.

Form the dough into a ball, place seam side down in the bowl, and cover the bowl with a wet dishtowel. Let rise for about 90 minutes, until the dough has approximately doubled in size.

Gently press down to press out the air. Use a spoon or spatula to carefully gather the dough away from the sides of the bowl and reform it into a ball. Let rise another 60 minutes with the wet towel on top.

Grease a loaf pan. Once the dough has about doubled in size again, press air out gently and remove from bowl. In my hands, I form the dough into a ball again and then gently elongate it into more of a rectangle that is the size of the loaf pan. Place in the pan, seams down. After 15 minutes, preheat the oven to 375.

After another half hour, once the dough has risen above the top of the pan, place the pan in the oven. Bake for one hour. Let cool for another hour before slicing.

2 comments:

  1. i'm gonna hafta bookmark this. i'd love to try making my own bread.

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  2. My husband was in a bread making phase for awhile when we first started dating. I loved the smell of fresh bread when you walked into the apartment. It reminded me of my grandma's house growing up. I'd love to try this.

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