Lately, I’ve been progressively disappointed with the quality of bread in stores. Given that my family polishes off 2-3 loafs per week and getting to artisan bakeries every few days is not an option, I really would like the boys to have the best bread there is – bread that smells just like out of my childhood, bread that goes stale in 2 days, bread that isn’t too airy or too dense, loaded with goodness of whole grains.
Enough said, I decided to give bread-making a shot. I’m a first-time bread maker so I wanted a solid recipe to go by. The multi-grain recipe I got off Epicurious.com has great reviews so I gave it a go. I used my dough mixer attachment for all of the kneading work – let me tell you, it makes life so much easier!
As a novice bread-maker I didn’t tweak anything in the recipe and followed it to a ‘t’, mostly. What I got was 2 wonderful aromatic multi-grain bread loafs, a bit denser that I expected (probably, due to a lot of whole wheat flour) but absolutely delicious, holding shape well, perfect for school sandwiches. However, I found the process pretty time-consuming – it requires a few steps of adding – mixing – waiting. It took me about 3 hours from the beginning to finish, which is expected with a yeast-based recipe.
What I’d like to do soon enough is to establish a regular bread-making schedule when I can bake a weekly supply, about 4 loaves per week; freeze 2 and keep 2 for eats. Is this too utopian?
- 1/2 cup unsweetened multi-grain cereal (such as 7-grain)
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 1/2 tsp or 1 envelope dry yeast
- 4 1/3 cups bread flour
I used a combination of 60% / 40% of whole wheat / rye flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons flax seeds*
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 2 cups water
- Place cereal in large bowl. Pour 2 cups boiling water over. Let stand until mixture cools, about 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle yeast over cereal. Add 1 cup bread flour, oil, sugar and salt and stir until smooth. Gradually mix in enough remaining bread flour to form dough. Cover dough; let rest 15 minutes.
- Turn out dough onto floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 10 minutes. Oil large bowl. Add dough to bowl; turn to coat. Cover bowl with clean kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm area until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Mix all seeds in bowl. Punch down dough. Turn out onto lightly oiled surface. Knead briefly. Shape into 12×4-inch loaf.
- Sprinkle baking sheet with 2 teaspoons seeds. Place loaf atop seeds. Cover with towel. Let rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Position 1 oven rack in center and 1 just below center in oven. Place baking pan on lower rack and preheat oven to 425°F. Brush loaf with water. Sprinkle with remaining seed mixture. Using sharp knife, cut 3 diagonal slashes in surface of loaf. Place baking sheet with loaf in oven. Immediately pour 2 cups water into hot pan on lower rack in oven (water will steam).
- Bake loaf until golden and crusty and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.