As the new year begins, I along with so many of you out there in cyber land, wishes to down-size their waist lines, eat at home more often, eat better, add more fiber to our diets – you get the idea – this list could go on and on.
With this, I have had the pleasure of experiencing some success and at times, no success in creating a new recipe for homemade multi-grain bread. Working with whole wheat flour I have learned can be difficult and very different than white flour since it does not response as nicely like your standard all white purpose flour in being light and airy when making breads.
How it started:
I have been wanting to make a multi-grain loaf of bread for sometime without using those pre-made mixes available to us in our grocery stores, simply feeling that making it from scratch at home had to be even more wholesome.
A few months ago this past fall, I made my first try at making a homemade multi-grain bread, and added what I thought would be a wonderful loaf of bread with oatmeal, corn meal, wheat flour and other what I thought to be wholesome foods and ingredients. The results were less than stellar – and in fact my local squirrels who sit on a roof hanging out for little tidbits now and then for what I may throw out to them were more than just surprised when I went to give them some of my less-than-stellar loaf of multi-grain. There were completely frightened! – The few pieces I sent out to them hit the roof so hard, like bricks, I had to laugh, and of course no squirrel was hurt during this experience – the only thing that was hurt was my pride, and the lost of good ingredients that ended up being what could have been an organic door stop I could try to sell on Etsy – not!
I wish people would try to make bread more often, it really does not take that much effort – and if you are doing chores around the house, making a fresh loaf of bread, can really be nice when you get down to sit for dinner.
I have since tried and have had success in creating and altering the amounts of the various flours to create a nice multi-grained loaf of bread that is both hearty and heart-healthy. Shall We? Yes, we shall…
This bread recipe can be made in a sturdy mixer like a kitchen-aid stand mixer or in your bread machine, just be sure to follow your bread machine’s preferred method of yeast as the first or last ingredient to be added to your bread machine. This makes a large 1 and a half pound loaf. I have made this loaf using both methods with success.
Total time from start to finish including time for the bread to rise and bake is 4-6 hours. But there is very little actual ‘work’ that you do, most of the time is for allow the bread to rise – really!
Baking time is 25-35 minutes in a preheated oven at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/3 cup corn meal (yellow preferred)
- 2 cups bread flour + 1/2 cup flour in case you need it if dough after five minutes of kneading is too sticky (it all depends upon the weather and on your flours)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 one package)
- 1 cup + 1/8 cup hot water
Directions for your bread machine:
- If making this recipe in your bread machine, please note the order of yeast, some call for you to put it in last, others, to put the yeast in first. In the case of my bread machine, the yeast goes in last. (see below if making this bread in a stand mixer)
- Add measured hot water first to the bread machine, then honey, salt, olive oil, then the flours and cornmeal (excluding that 1/2 cup of flour at first)
- Then made a small well, and add your yeast.
- Set your bread machine to make bread on its ‘whole wheat setting with a medium crust’ and a two-pound setting or even just make the dough setting should you wish to shape the dough to your favorite bread shape.
- With either method, take a peak after five minutes of initially mixing – does the dough feel and look sticky? It should not, it should be medium-soft dough that’s not too dry, yet doesn’t look sticky wet. If it does look sticky and wet, add half of the flour, let it mix in and save the remaining extra flour for your last step before baking.
- If making just the dough method, once it rises for the first time (in using mixer method, simply place dough in a greased with olive oil bowel and cover with a clean dish towel in a warm spot in your kitchen) and allow to double in size – roughly 2 hours.
Directions for your Stand Mixer and/or Making just the Dough with your bread machine:
- Making this in a stand mixer? – Using dough hook on your mixer, Start with putting the hot water into the mixing bowel and adding yeast, let proof for 6 minutes, then add all ingredients with the salt being the last. Mix on low till incorporated, and then let knead (mix) on low for ten minutes.
- With either method, take a peak after five minutes of mixing – does the dough feel and look sticky? It should not, it should be medium-soft dough that’s not too dry, yet doesn’t look or feel sticky and wet. If it does look sticky and wet, add half of the flour (1/4 cup of all purpose white flour), let it mix in and save the remaining extra flour for your last step before baking. If it is too dry, you can add 1/8 cup of water, just make sure it incorporates, then allow it to knead for 10 minutes.
- If making just the dough method in your bread machine- allow it to rise once, then pour dough out onto your clean cutting board, and go to step 4. If you are making this bread in a mixer: once dough has been kneaded for ten minutes, simply place dough in a greased with olive oil bowel and cover with a clean dish towel in a warm spot in your kitchen) and allow to double in size – roughly 1-2 hours.
- Once dough has had its first rising, hand punch dough once, let it rest for 5 minutes, then knead for five, then shape dough into the shape you want to bake it in.
- Sprinkle your pan or cookie sheet with a little of corn meal, then place your shaped dough on or in the form, cover once again with a clean dish towel and allow the dough to rise a second time.
- Need some ideas for shaping your dough? Using a spring form pan – simply place ball of dough inside, cookie sheet – roll it into a long shape tucking ends underneath. Then cover your dough with a clean dish towel for its second and last rising until it doubles (1.5 hours).
- Once you are ready to bake, take a knife and make little slits on the top of the bread. If making a round loaf, simply make a X with the knife. This will allow the steam to escape as it bakes and helps to create a wonderful looking loaf when finished. Sprinkle a little of that extra flour on top of the loaf for that Artisan look.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 380 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Knock on bread, it should sound hollow when it’s done.
- Let bread cool 1 hour at least before slicing.
This recipe makes for wonderfully toasted bread, it’s hearty and smells and tastes incredible. Perfect to serve next to homemade chili, beef stew and hearty soups. This bread also makes for some amazing homemade croutons if you can’t finish the bread during the week.