Mulit-Grain Whole Wheat Bread

I had written two posts about bread making in the beginning of March: Wetter bread dough… Less kneading and Part 2: Wetter bread dough… Less kneading. These posts were inspired by an article in the New York Time by Harold McGee, whose book On Food and Cooking is currently occupying much of my time, as I am slightly obsesses with food science.

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.

After spending way too much time pondering the science of bread, I decided to make my own loaf keeping the flavors of the MS multigrain loaf (honey, raw sunflower seed, flax seeds, whole oats) but, using the principal of the wetter bread… less kneading and the results were terrific.  I was very pleased at how my experiment turned out and I will now share my recipe with you!  I am very proud of this bread and if you are a baker, please try and share your experiences with me!

Casey’s MultiGrain Bread
.10 oz  active dry yeast
4 oz warm water (110 – 115F/43 – 46C)
.5 oz honey

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.

Knead the dough for about 3 – 4 minutes till slightly sticky/tacky.  Then let it rest for 30 minutes in a large oiled dish covered with plastic wrap that has been oiled so, the dough doesn’t stick during the rises.  
After the dough rests, knead for 6 – 7 minutes to activate the gluten. If the dough gets too sticky, don’t use any additional flour, but a bench scrapper to manipulate the dough.

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.

After this rise, in the bowl, gently press out the air
 and fold into thirds with the seam on the bottom.

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!!!

About a half an hour before the end of the last rise, pre-heat your oven to 450F (235C).  If you want to sprinkle some extra seeds and oats on top, prepare and egg white wash, with some water and brush on to your loaves, then sprinkle with seeds. Also, I cut an “X” into the top of the loaf to ensure even heating.

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.

I am very proud of this bread recipe.  I made it twice so far, the second time, I wanted to get exact weighted measurements and the results were even better.
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Author: caseyangelova

Eating, Gardening & Living in Bulgaria

18 thoughts on “Mulit-Grain Whole Wheat Bread”

  1. Thanks Sweetlife – It is my favorite recipe to date.

    Chef Dennis – Do try it. I think I have worked out the kinks. What I am interested in knowing is if the flours and ingredients from the US would produce different results… Good luck!

    Penny – They should market the smells of the kitchen for perfume. People would be hungry all the time.

    Thanks 5 Star!

    Thanks Emily! I am thinking of branching out and re-visiting ciabatta.

    Spicie Foodie – I find excused to eat more bread if I make it myself… otherwise I never have it in the house.

    Bunky – I find if I think about making the bread the night before and prep my mise en place, I have better success. Good luck!

    CCR – I can manage about 2 loaves a week, but they do go quickly. We have a nice little baker in my town, so sometimes we get bread from them… when I am feeling lazy.

    Sharlene – Please share your results with the solar oven. The entire process is fascinating.

    Rick – Bread making definitely takes some practice and finesse. I am thinking about ciabatta as my next adventure. I was never a Fruity Pebble kind of girl. My heart always belonged to Lucky Charms…


  2. My Man's Belly – I love this bread. The experience I have gained on sorting out this recipe has given me boat loads of confidence to branch out on my bread making endeavors.

    Brie – Thanks! I hope you try it!


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