Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Multigrain Bread

Multigrain Bread



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Fear Conquered: Multigrain Bread

This is not Wonder Bread and this bread is not white. It is not even a shade of white or white with a tan. This bread is decidedly brown.

Yet while the vast majority of us may secretly believe bread should never be any color except blindingly white and packaged in balloon-adorned plastic bags, this decidedly NOT-white homemade bread has one big advantage over it's pale-crumb, factory-born cousin. It's hearty.

Are you surprised I didn't say "it's healthier"? Frankly, so am I. After all, shouldn't homemade bread be far better for you than the commercially produced loaves? You'd think so (in fact, I'm still hesitant to admit otherwise), but in a recent examination of Wonder Bread's ingredient list, I was shocked by how healthful it sounds. No preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no food dyes and just unbleached flours. Wonder Bread sounds almost too wondrous to be true.

Adding Sesame Seeds to Bread Basket

Yet despite the advances in Wonder Bread's ingredient list, I'm still not persuaded to grab a loaf from Walmart shelves. I insist on control over both the process and ingredients in bread I eat. Yes, there's a little bit of paranoia and certainly a healthy dose of stubborn independence. But truthfully I want a bread I can sink my teeth into, a bread to fill me up from just one sandwich. I want a bread fortified with whole grains and protein-packed seeds for a slow release of energy.

And, if you really want to hear me say it, I just don't trust the commercial bread industry. There. Full disclosure.

But you shouldn't bake this bread because I've shaken your trust in big industry. And you shouldn't bake this bread because it will revolutionize your health. You should bake your own bread because it's easy, cheap and fast - and because warm homemade bread is unlike ANY "wonder" bread stocked in plastic bags on Walmart shelves.

Sliced Multigrain Bread

Maybe you're a tiny bit nervous about baking bread. After all, there's yeast and gluten involved. There's kneading and proofing. There are those terrifying stories about collapsed loaves and under-baked loaves and dry crumbly loaves. Cheer up and be brave - bread-baking isn't what it used to be.

With today's convenient kitchen gadgets like the bread machine, baking a fresh loaf of bread doesn't have to require hours of careful attention. When you get home from work, you load the ingredients into the bread machine, schedule a start and walk away for 2+ hours - plenty of time to run kids to soccer practice, go grocery shopping, put in a load of laundry, clean house, make dinner or help your better half file tax returns. In my book, home-baked bread is a simple but dramatic way to say "I love you" without uttering a word.



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Photo Tutorial

Steel Cut Oats
First you will need to soak the steel cut coats. Measure 1/2 cup of steel cut oats.

Steel Cut Oats Soaking
Bring 1 1/4 cups water to the boil and add steel cut oats.

Soaked Steel Cut Oats
Let steel cut oats soak for 30 minutes until softened.

Ready to Make Oat Flour
While oats soak, you can make your own oat flour. Add rolled oats to a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment.

Oat Flour in Food Processor
Process oats until they resemble a course flour.

Yeast Added to Warm Water
To made the bread dough, add the starter ingredients to the bread machine basket, starting with the yeast and water.

Adding Milk to Bread Basket
Next add the starter milk

Whole Wheat Flour Added to Bread Basket
Then add the starter oat flour and whole wheat flour.

Adding Olive Oil
Next, add the dough ingredients in the order listed, starting with the salt and olive oil.

Adding Molasses
Next add the molasses

Adding Milk to Basket
Then add 1 Tablespoon of skim milk.

Adding Drained Steel Cut Oats
Next drain the soaked steel cut oats through a sieve and add to the basket.

Flour Added to Bread Basket
Add the bread bread.

Adding Sesame Seeds to Bread Basket
Next add the seeds (or other mix-ins of your choice).

Adding Gluten to Bread Basket
Add the vital wheat gluten.

Adding Yeast to Well in Flour
Finally, create a "well" in the center of the flour and add the active dry yeast to the well.

Bread Basket in Bread Maker
Position the bread basket in the bread machine and select the "Whole Wheat" dough option on your bread machine. Allow the bread machine to mix, knead and proof the dough until the start of the final rise cycle. See your bread machine documentation or manual for specific cycle times.

Egg and Milk for Egg Wash
For the egg wash, combine 1 large egg and 1 Tablespoon of milk in a small bowl.

Egg Wash
Beat the egg and milk together until well combined.

Bread Turned Out onto Floured Board
Once the bread machine as reached the final rise cycle, shut off the bread machine and remove the dough from the bread basket and place on a lightly floured surface.

Cutting dough in half
Divide the dough evenly in half.

Shaping 1 Loaf of Bread
Form each half of the dough into a oval loaf.

Shaped Loaves in Greased Bread Pans
Please each formed loaf into a greased bread pan (I use organic shortening to grease pans for best release).

Bread Loaves Sprinkled with Rolled Oats
Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with rolled oats.

Loaves Ready to be Baked
Place bread pans in a warm location and allow loaves to rise 25-40 minutes until doubled in size. During final 15 minutes of rise time, preheat oven to 475F.

Loaves Baked
To bake, place loaves in preheated oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 400F and bake loaves for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake loaves for another 20 minutes. Allow loaves to cool in bread pans for 10 minutes before turning out loaves to cool further.

Sliced Multigrain Bread
In you plan to save the bread, do not slice until the bread has completed cooled to room temperature or the structure of the bread will collapse when sliced.



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Homemade Multigrain Bread

    by Javelin Warrior
     Prep Time: 2 hr 45 min
     Cook Time: 35 min

Ingredients (2 loaves)
    Starter
    • 1 1/3 cups warm water (approx 110℉)
    • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
    • 2 Tablespoons skim milk
    • 1/2 cup oat flour (ground rolled oats)
    • 2 1/4 cups unbleached hard whole wheat flour
    Dough
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1/4 cup unsulphured full-flavor molasses
    • 1 Tablespoon skim milk
    • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats softened, then drained
    • 2 cups unbleached bread flour
    • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
    • 3 Tablespoons flax seed
    • 2 Tablespoons raw unsalted sunflower seeds
    • 3 1/2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • Rolled oats (for sprinkling)
    • Organic shortening (for greasing pans)
    Egg Wash
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 Tablespoon skim milk
    Instructions
    1. Grease two bread loaf pans with organic shortening
    2. To make your own oat flour, add rolled oats to a food processor or blender and pulse until oats are pulverized into a coarse flour; to soften steel cut oats, bring 1 1/4 cups water to the boil, then add oats and let soak for at least 30 minutes
    3. Add the starter ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine loaf basket fitted with the paddle attachment
    4. Add remaining ingredients to the basket in the order listed (excluding egg wash, shortening and rolled oats), ending with the remaining yeast in a small well in the center of the flour
    5. Secure the loaf basket in the bread machine and select the “Whole Wheat” cycle for a 2-lb loaf (my machine includes a 30 minute “preheat” or rest period before it mixes the ingredients - if your machine does not include this preheat period, allow your ingredients to rest 30 minutes in the loaf basket before adding to the bread machine)
    6. Allow the bread machine to mix, knead and proof the dough until the start of the final rise cycle (about 2 1/4 hours for my machine)
    7. Prepare egg wash by beating together egg and milk in a small bowl with a fork; turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut the dough in half; shape loaves and place in prepared loaf pans, brushing each loaf with egg wash and sprinkling with rolled oats
    8. Let loaves rise in a warm place for at least 25 minutes until loaves have doubled in size
    9. Preheat oven to 475℉
    10. Add loaves to the preheated oven, reduce heat to 400℉ and bake loaves for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375℉ and bake loaves another 20 minutes
    11. Remove loaves from the oven and let rest in the bread pans for 10 minutes, then turn out the loaves and serve immediately (sometimes I need to run a knife along the edge of the pan to help loosen the bread from the pan); if you intend to save the loaves for another day, do not slice the loaves until completely cool
    An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2012 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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    Hungry for Tips?
    • Bread Machines: Bread machines are a wonderful time-saving kitchen appliance and I've devoted an entire post explaining why you should own one. However, when attempting a new bread recipe for the first time, I recommend sticking around to check on the dough's progress during the bread machine cycles - especially if you decide to use the bread machine's built-in bake setting. Different bread machines will influence a recipe differently and I've watched more than one batch of dough rise beyond expectations (or the capacity of my machine).

      Bread Basket in Bread Maker
       
    • Every bread machine is programmed with a slightly different logic so the time schedule for knead and rise cycles will vary - just check your bread machine manual for exact cycle times before making this recipe. The key to this recipe is using a cycle with multiple kneed, rest, and proof cycles to really develop the gluten in the dough.

    • Gluten and Yeast: There are two things you need for a successful loaf of bread: gluten and yeast (unless you're making a gluten-free bread or a yeast-less bread, in which case this tip obviously wouldn't apply). When gluten is activated, the gluten strands create a dough with sufficient elasticity to trap the pockets of carbon dioxide released by the yeast. If there is insufficient gluten (or if the gluten fails to activate properly), the carbon dioxide released by the yeast will escape the dough, causing the bread to either fail to rise fully or to collapse entirely.

      Active Dry Yeast
       
    • Whole Grain Flours: Whole grain flours such as whole wheat flour and oat flour have substantially less gluten than all purpose and bread flour. Thus, when adding a substantial amount of whole grains to a bread recipe, you will often need to add vital wheat gluten. This is especially true when using a bread machine as the dough paddle cannot work the dough as vigorously as a stand mixer's dough hook or your own hands.
       
    • I have tested so many iterations of this recipe my chest freezer is now half-filled with loaves of bread (no joke). The good news is, I'm quite happy with the texture, flavor, and reliability of this recipe. Just be sure to add the ingredients to the bread machine basket in the exact order listed - and if you want two beautiful loaves like those pictured, you will have spend 5 minutes forming the dough by hand.


       
    • Don't skip the egg wash - this keeps the loaves from drying out as it completes the final rise. I like the look of oats crusting my bread, but you could always leave them off or substitute with another topping of your choice.
       
    • As soon as you carve off a slice of warm bread, steam will immediately escape - and you may not care if you intend to hand out slices to a waiting family. But if you want to preserve the springy and moist texture of this bread for another day, refrain from slicing until the bread is completely cool.

    • Sliced Multigrain Bread Closeup

    I have submitted this post to Girlichef's BYOB - Bake Your Own Bread monthly event. It's a fantastic roundup of delicious baked breads each month - and I'm excited to be part of it. Click the banner to learn more and add your own home-baked bread.

    BYOB Badge



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    26 comments:

    1. There's nothing quite like homemade bread. Beautiful post and directions!

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      1. Thanks and I'm so pleased you enjoyed - my favorite part of bread is really the scents ;)

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    2. This looks wonderful! I love making my own bread, so much better than anything you could ever buy! Would love to see the inside!

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      1. Jessica, I'm glad you appreciated and your suggestion to show the inside is a good one - I've added a couple closeups of a cut-away :)

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    3. Okay, now I've got to get a bread machine. You've sold me!

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      1. LOL you definitely should, Don. I think it's so much easier than kneading by hand or holding onto my stand mixer for 15 minutes ;)

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    4. JW! I love your Corningware loaf pans a teensy weensy bit more than your bread!

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      1. Anna, I completely agree! Honestly, I do love those Blue Cornflower bread pans more than I love the bread - which says a lot because I'm a bread fiend ;)

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    5. My hubby has converted me to a wheat bread eater. It has been ages since I have bought white loaf bread from the grocers! To me, no matter what in manufactured bread-making your own is the best way to insure what ingredients go in. Your loaves here look tasty, time to break out the bread machine. Thanks for all the great info here too-always good to learn a few things as well as find a great recipe.

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      1. Tina, I'm so glad you approved and I share your perspective on manufactured bread ;) Well, pretty much most manufactured food stuffs - but that's a whole other topic...

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    6. My dad will go nuts for your bread if I make it for him. I d love a slice with some dark gorest honey. delicious!

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      1. Helene, thanks so much for checking out the bread and I'm glad you (and your dad) would enjoy =)

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    7. Gorgeous, GORGEOUS loaves! There's not much better than freshly baked (or baking) bread in my opinion. And I love the beauty that the oats scattered on top imparts. I hope you'll link up with this month's edition of BYOB-Bake Your Own Bread (http://www.girlichef.com/2012/03/byob-bake-your-own-bread-march-2012.html)! =)

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      1. Thanks for the invite, Heather - I really appreciate it and what a fun roundup! I have linked-up my bread to share...

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    8. perfection... isn't it just the MOST satisfying thing ever?... and the SMELL oh my!... they really do look wonderful and thats a great tutorial for the beginner.. fab!

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      1. Thanks Dom - and I really do think bread is one of the best smelling foods when baking...

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    9. Wow. This post is excellent. I agree with you entirely. What's better than a delicious and fragrant homemade loaf? Yours have turned out perfectly. Thank you for your tips, I am not very familiar with it and this have given me a better knowledge on how to do it!

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      1. Thank you, Alida. And I'm happy the tips were helpful...

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    10. Yay - thanks so much for sharing your beautiful loaves w/ BYOB this month. Looking forward to more loaves from you in the future =)

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    11. Super looking bread, I love all of the seeds and rusticness (word?) It's time I made another bread and I feel some Javelin inspiration..
      Great post!

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      1. Thanks Gerry - rusticness should be a word even if it's not! =)

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    12. I love love love this! It looks healthy and delicious :)

      I also wanted to let you know I've nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award! :) You can check here for more details: http://cookingactress.blogspot.com/2012/03/awards.html

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      1. Thanks so much for dropping by and for the award nomination =) That means so much to mean and I really do appreciate it.

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    13. Beautiful loaves JW, very awesome post! I love the smell of bread baking in the oven, there's just something homey about it : ) Great idea to make your own oat flour too! Just can't say enough great things, I am very impressed. P.s. I NEVER buy white bread...yuck : ) Can't remember even the last time I have eaten white bread, there's just no flavor in it.

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      1. Thanks Jenn and I'm so glad you enjoyed - and I agree about white bread. It may be fortified with all kinds of good things, but somehow that packaged stuff never has any taste!

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    14. That is some beautiful bread! I love, love, love bread that you get the pleasure of chewing for longer than a couple seconds like that Wonder stuff. If you're going to eat bread, I think it should be delicious on it's own and healthy, not just a fortified vehicle for toppings. Aaaaand, time for me to end the rant. Fantastic use of all the grains and seeds, yum!

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