Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mega-Multigrain Bread

After making a few too many plain loaves of bread, I decided to go wild with grains and seeds. The resulting bread is a symphony of textures, with a nice crisp crust and bits of interesting things inside.

This is also a very customizable bread. If you don't have one of the grains or seeds I used, substitute something similar. I specified red quinoa because the color is nice in the bread, but white would be fine. Sunflower seeds would be great instead of the pumpkin, but walnuts would work well, too.

Since the amount of water in the cooked grains is going to vary, and since all the other grains are going to absorb varying amounts of liquid depending on brand and source, there's no sense in fussing over exact weights of everything. When it's all assembled, you need to go by feel to adjust the final amount of bread flour.

The dough will still be sticky when you're done kneading, but it will firm up during the long rest as the grains soak up more of the moisture. If it's still too wet to work with the next day, add more flour as you knead.

When I baked this loaf, the oven spring was impressive, and the center slash widened dramatically, but it didn't gain a lot of height, probably due to the high percentage of alternative ingredients.

If you want a tall loaf for sandwiches, consider baking in a pan rather than as a completely free-form loaf.

Mega-Multigrain Bread

1 cup whey (or water)
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 cup rye flakes
1/2 cup malted wheat flakes
1/4 cup red quinoa
1/4 cup coarse corn grits (polenta)
2 cups bread flour, divided
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix whey, sugar, yeast, oats, rye flakes and malted wheat flakes in the bowl of stand mixer, and set aside.

Cook quinoa and grits in water to cover by a few inches, until grits are fully cooked and quinoa has softened; the quinoa can be a little snap to it, but should be chewable.

Remove the pan from the heat, and drain in a fine-mesh strainer to remove most of the water. Set aside to cool.

Add one cup of the bread flour to the mixture in the stand mixer bowl, and knead with dough hook while you're waiting for the quinoa and grits to cool.

When the quinoa and grits have cooled to room temperature, add them to the to the mixture in the stand mixer bowl along the remaining cup of bread flour, and all of the rest of the ingredients. Knead until the mixture comes together in a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. If it refuses to come together and form a ball, add more flour, as needed. It will still be sticky and a bit wet.

Drizzle olive oil into a clean bowl and move the dough mixture to that bowl. Drizzle more oil as needed, to coat the surface. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.

After 2 hours, punch down the dough, form it into a ball, put it back in the bowl, cover again with plastic wrapm and put it back into the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, remove the bread from the refrigerator and let it warm up a bit on the counter, about an hour or so. It will still be cool, but it shouldn't be cold.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

On a floured surface, knead the dough a bit and form it into your preferred shape. Put it on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Slash the loaf as desired, and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour, until nicely browned.

This recipe was also posted on Serious Eats.