Back in February, when I received my latest Martha Stewart Living magazine, they had a section on cooking about making bread, using one simple recipe and making variations to produce 4 different loaves. At the time, Angel and I were on the LCD, so our bread intake was limited to those that contain whole grains and high fiber, which lead me to try the multigrain bread recipe. I tried this recipe on 3 separate occasions with slight variations, each time producing mixed results. Despite using a thermometer to make sure my liquid ingredients were at the right temperature and the room temperature for the rise was correct, it would still produce a very dense loaf, tasty, but quite dense.
After dabbling with the recipe, I had moved on the the wetter loaves and less kneading philosophy of bread making, but I still had the multigrain loaf from MS in the back of my mind, I really wanted to make it work, but couldn’t figure out how, until I learned about dough hydration.
The original Martha Stewart recipe included cup and spoon measurements rather than weighed measurements, which isn’t a good sign because cup measurements are not as accurate, as there are many variables. According to the original recipe, you have 56 oz of flour and 18 oz of water, which if you calculate will be 32% hydration (liquid weight ÷ flour weight = dough hydration). A basic loaf by James Beard was 60%, and some of the wetter doughs that was experimenting with were quite higher than that. Aside from the flour to water ration on MS recipe, the rise time was quite short, which they made up with more yeast to quicken the leavening. Too much yeast in the recipe could give the final product a very yeasty taste.
14 oz warm water
2.5 oz honey
1.5 oz melted butter
15 oz whole wheat flour (about 2 3/4 cups)
15 oz white flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
.5 oz kosher salt
4 oz soaked bulgar*
2 oz whole oats
1.5 oz flax seeds
1.5 oz raw sunflower seeds
For starter: add the honey and warm water, stir till combined, make sure the temperature is between 110 – 115F/43 – 46C then add the yeast, stir and let sit for 10 minutes till foamy.
Combine flours and salt, whisk till incorporated. Stir melted butter, honey and warm water together till combined and set aside.
Add foamy yeast mixture, flax seeds, whole oats and sunflowers seeds together with flour.
Stir till partially combined, then add the water, butter, honey mixture and stir till it comes together in a coehisive ball.
After kneading, return dough to the oiled bowl and let rest in a warm draft-free area for an hour. The temperature in my house was about 73F (23C), which is good.
Cover the bowl and let rise another hour. After the hours passes, repeat following step: in the bowl, gently press out the air and fold into thirds with the seam on the bottom.
After the second rise, repeat the deflating and folding in the bowl, but let rise for an hour and a half.
After the third rise, divide the dough in half, and shape into a mound with the edges tucked underneath (or in an oiled bread pan) and place on a lined baking sheet (I use a Silpat). Let rise for another hour and a half. If you are not keeping track we are at 5 hours of rising!!!
Put the bread in the oven on the lowest rack and reduce the oven temperature to 400F (205C), let it bake for 40 minutes, but watch it at the end, in case the top gets too brown.