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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.
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.
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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|First you will need to soak the steel cut coats. Measure 1/2 cup of steel cut oats.|
|Bring 1 1/4 cups water to the boil and add steel cut oats.|
|Let steel cut oats soak for 30 minutes until softened.|
|While oats soak, you can make your own oat flour. Add rolled oats to a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment.|
|Process oats until they resemble a course flour.|
|To made the bread dough, add the starter ingredients to the bread machine basket, starting with the yeast and water.|
|Next add the starter milk|
|Then add the starter oat flour and whole wheat flour.|
|Next, add the dough ingredients in the order listed, starting with the salt and olive oil.|
|Next add the molasses|
|Then add 1 Tablespoon of skim milk.|
|Next drain the soaked steel cut oats through a sieve and add to the basket.|
|Add the bread bread.|
|Next add the seeds (or other mix-ins of your choice).|
|Add the vital wheat gluten.|
|Finally, create a "well" in the center of the flour and add the active dry yeast to the well.|
|For the egg wash, combine 1 large egg and 1 Tablespoon of milk in a small bowl.|
|Beat the egg and milk together until well combined.|
|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.|
|Divide the dough evenly in half.|
|Form each half of the dough into a oval loaf.|
|Please each formed loaf into a greased bread pan (I use organic shortening to grease pans for best release).|
|Brush each loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with rolled oats.|
|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.|
|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.|
STORY | PHOTO TUTORIAL | HUNGRY FOR TIPS?
Homemade Multigrain Bread
Prep Time: 2 hr 45 min
Cook Time: 35 min
Ingredients (2 loaves)
- 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
- 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)
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon skim milk
- Grease two bread loaf pans with organic shortening
- 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
- Add the starter ingredients in the order listed to the bread machine loaf basket fitted with the paddle attachment
- 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
- 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)
- 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)
- 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
- Let loaves rise in a warm place for at least 25 minutes until loaves have doubled in size
- Preheat oven to 475℉
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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