After a year of trying brioche, English muffin bread, and all kinds of other grainy loaves, this one has remained the favorite of both Darrell and me. It makes great rolls but for that post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich there just isn’t anything better than this one. Ditto for toast.
Fermenting the grains the night before is part of its delicious flavor. It does require a few extra things but has a lot of room for substitutions.
If you’ve never been to our local co-op on Marshall Street, here’s a great excuse to go. At Abundance, you can buy all kinds of grains-n-things in bulk including spices, yeast, and the polenta, oats, and bran this recipe calls for.
This recipe comes from the book The Bread Baker’s Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. While I’ve never actually met the author, I have spent so much time poring over his books and recipes that I feel like we’re old friends. Unlike real old friends, if I knew he was dropping by I’d clean up the kitchen and measure ingredients more carefully (while he was here at least!).
Enjoy this bread! Once we’ve finished off the last crumbs of our turkey and trimmings, I’m on to experimenting with panettone for Christmas! If you have any recipes for this traditional Italian sweet bread please send them my way!
Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire
Soaker (I put my usual choices in bold print)
3 T coarse cornmeal/polenta, millet, quinoa, or amaranth
3 T rolled oats or wheat, buckwheat or triticale flakes
2 T wheat bran (in a pinch I’ve just used wheat flour)
1/4 cup water, room temperature
3 cups bread flour
3 T brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 T yeast
3 T cooked brown rice (I often freeze leftover white rice in 3 T squares so I always have some on hand!)
1 1/2 T honey
1/2 cup buttermilk or milk (you can substitute be adding an extra 1/2 cup water instead)
3/4 cup water, room temperature
Soaker: On the day before making the bread, make the soaker by combining all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover the grain, hydrating it only slightly, then cover with plastic wrap and leave it at room temperature overnight to initiate enzyme action.
Stir together flour, brown sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the soaker, rice, honey, buttermilk, and water. Knead 10-12 minutes, sprinkling with flour if needed to make a dough that is soft and pliable, tacky but not sticky.
Remove dough from bowl and press by hand into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and 8-10 inches long. Form it into a loaf (or other desired shape: rolls are amazing!) Place into a lightly oiled (or buttered) 9×5 inch loaf pan. (note that this is larger than the loaf pan I usually use).
Cover and allow to rise again until double in size. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-50 minutes rotating once after about 20 minutes in the oven. Rolls and free standing loaves will take less time. The bread should be golden brown and make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom.
Immediately remove from pan and cool at least one hour or more before serving. I promise it’ll be worth the wait!!!