Friday, March 31, 2006

Chewy, nutty, multigrain goodness!

Dear readers, I hope you have been noting my faithful compliance with my New Year's resolution to bake more bread. And not that I have joined the Lo-Carb Cult or anything, but I have really been craving a good whole grain bread. Now I have been known to buy Milton's original, multi-grain bread out of Del Mar, CA (but available at your local Sam's Club), touted as the best-tasting bread in the world or some such. And it is pretty good, but a wee bit pricey (can you tell that I live on a teacher's salary and that how to save a buck is an ongoing theme here at Lindsey's Luscious?). So as usual, I wanted to be able to make my own multi-grain loaf at home and have it be, well, edible. Lo and behold, the good people at Cook's Illustrated must have heard my prayer, because they recently published a fine recipe for just such a bread. The picture shows the result of my first attempt, and I was pleased with the loaves that I produced.

The one important thing I would do differently is NOT assume that there would be more oven spring upon baking. Indeed, there was seemingly none at all! I had only let them rise to the top of the pan for their final proof (as it was getting late and I wanted to bake them and then get to bed!). Next time, I would let them rise to at least an inch or more OVER the top of the pan before baking. As a result, my loaves were a little shorter (and denser) than I would have preferred, but they sure were TASTY, especially toasted and buttered! Yum!

A couple of additional notes on the recipe:

I used a whole-grained porridge mix from King Arthur Flour, and after the requisite hour of soaking in hot water, it looked like...well, it looked the same as it did when I first poured the hot water over it! So I ended up cooking it on the stovetop for maybe 45 minutes until it was good and porridgy before continuing with the bread. Also, though the recipe calls for an oatmeal topping, I had another King Arthur item hanging around my freezer (can you tell I'm in spring cleaning mode?), a bag of seeds labelled "artisan bread topping," if memory serves. So I used that instead. But I would recommend an egg wash for the top of the loaves instead of just cooking spray. It would help even the oatmeal stick better, plus make your loaves pretty and shiny! And with these caveats in mind, I give you...

Multigrain Bread
By: Erika Bruce-CI

6 1/4 ounces 7-grain hot cereal mix -- 1 1/4 cups
20 ounces boiling water -- 2 1/2 cups
15 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour -- 3 cups
7 1/2 ounces whole wheat flour -- 1 1/2 cups
4 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted and cooled
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon table salt
3/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

Place cereal mix in bowl of standing mixer and pour boiling water over it: let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100ºF and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour. Whisk flours together in a medium bowl.Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, melted butter, and yeast. Stir to combine. Attach bowl to stand mixing fitted with dough hook. With mixer running on low speed, add flours, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until dough forms a ball, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes: cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 mintues. Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears the side of the bowl, 3 to 4 minutes (if it does not clear the side of the bowl, add 2 to 3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and continue mixing); continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes. Add seeds and knead for another 15 seconds. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until the seeds are dispersed evenly and the dough forms a smooth, taut ball. Place dough into a large greased container and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until doubled, 45 to 60 minutes.Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375ºF. Spray two 9 by 5-inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat into 12 bu 9-inch rectangle; cut dough in half crosswise with a knife of bench scraper. Shape loaves and coat with oats; cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, 30 to 40 minutes. (Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle). Bake until internal temperature registers 200ºF on instant read thermometer, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and cool on wire rack before slicing.


Anonymous said...

Wow. No one has posted here in a LONG time. I think I'll find a new more exciting blog...

Joy Bugaloo said...

Yeah, and then you can find a newer, more exciting place to LIVE, too, if that's the way you're gonna be! Mean old roommate that you are! Cut me some slack..I had a tough week! ;-)