Remember the Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge? Well, that’s okay. I don’t either. Last May (or maybe it was June?) I signed on to bake my way through Peter Reinhart’s bread book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
The rules, very Julie-and-Julia style, were that you had to bake each bread from A-Z, no skipping, at a clip that suited you. For awhile I baked a bread each week, sometimes two breads.
That didn’t last long.
So here we are, on #20, which is actually a bread that I would make again and again. I’ve made it twice since my initial trial and love that you can shape it into a lovely little boule, my favorite bread to bake or follow the instructions for a more traditional loaf.
If you’re serving a heavy meal like pasta but bread on the table is non-negotiable, this is a good one to try. It’s full of grains so you’ll get a dose of filling fiber and wind up eating less bread and saving more room for the main dish, whatever that may be.
Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire
3 T (1 oz) polenta, millet, quinoa, or amaranth
3 T (.75 oz.) rolled oats, or wheat, buckwheat, or triticale
2 T (.25 oz) wheat bran (or wheat germ)
1/4 c (2 oz) room temperature water
3 c (13.5 oz) unbleached bread flour
3 T (1.5 oz) brown sugar (I only had one and let it go at that)
1.5 t (.38 oz) salt
1 T (.33 oz) instant yeast
3 T (1 oz) cooked brown rice
1/4 c sunflower seeds (because I liked them in Cook’s recipe)
1.5 T (1 oz) honey
1/2 c (4 oz) buttermilk
3/4 c (6 oz) room temperature water
1 T poppy or sesame seeds for topping (optional)
1. Mix the ingredients for the soaker together the night before you plan to bake the bread. Cover with plastic and leave at room temperature (recipe states to initiate enzyme action).
2. In a large mixing bowl or the basin of a stand mixer, combine one cup flour, brown sugar and salt. Turn it on low speed and mix with the dough hook. Mix the yeast, honey, buttermilk and water together to dissolve the yeast, add the grains and rice, and then immediately add that to the mixing bowl.
3. Add the remaining bread flour, mixing steadily, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead with the dough hook until dough is clearing the sides of the mixing bowl (about 8 to 10 minutes of machine kneading).
4. Turn dough onto the counter, to a well-floured surface. Knead by hand for another 5-8 minutes or until dough is shaped into a smooth but supple ball. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise for about 90 minutes (or until dough doubles in size) in a warm, dry place.
5. Preheat the oven to 350°. Shape the loaf into a boule (here is a great photo instruction on how to shape a boule loaf). Spray the top with water, applied the poppy seeds and spray again with olive oil. Cover shaped dough with plastic and set on counter to rise 90 minutes longer.
6. Once loaf has risen, bake for approximately 40 minutes on a hot baking stone (or preheated cookie sheet turned upside down). Leave to cool at least an hour before cutting for best results.