Contributed by: Dennis Weaver
A quick perusal of your baker's shelves will tell you how popular multi-grain bread is. But it's not hard to bake-you can make your own. You can use any recipe and add the cracked grain mixture though traditionally, a whole wheat recipe is used. The following instructions and recipe will tell you how.
With most cereal mixes, 1/3 cup to 6 tablespoons of cereal per loaf is about the right ratio. If you want soft cereal bits in your bread, soak the cereal for an hour in hot water before starting the bread. It's not necessary but a nice touch. If you are baking bread in your bread machine on a three hour cycle, the long cycle will tend to soften the grains without pre-soaking.
Because both the bran in the whole wheat and flour and the sharp edges of cereal tend to cut the gluten strands as they develop, a couple tablespoons of added gluten is a good idea. Always use a quality, high-protein content bread flour. Your bread will never be better than the flour that you use.
Hi-Country Seven Grain Bread Recipe
This recipe uses a seven grain cereal mix. You can certainly use other cracked grain mixes or cracked wheat. Because different grain mixes and different grain sizes absorb water differently, be prepared to adjust the water to flour ratio in the recipe. (With our flours and cereal, in our kitchen, this is exactly the right water to flour ratio.)
1. Mix the cereal with the 1 1/2 cups hot water. Set aside for two hours to absorb the water and soften.
2. Melt the butter in the microwave and set it aside to cool. With shortening or butter, grease a large bowl for the dough and 2 large loaf pans (9 x 5-inch). If you are going to make hearth loaves, grease a baking sheet and sprinkle it with cornmeal.
3. Measure the flours into a large bowl by whisking the flour so that it's not packed and then spooning it into the measuring cup followed by leveling the top with a straightedge. Add the gluten and conditioner and stir to combine. Stir in the sugar, salt, and dry milk.
4. Put about 1/3 of the flour mixture in the bowl of your stand type mixer equipped with a dough hook. Add the yeast. Add the 1 cup water at the indicated temperature. With the dough hook, run the machine for thirty seconds to mix the water with the flour to create a slurry. Add cereal and water mixture and the rest of the flour mixture. (The cereal and water mixture should be 105 to 110 degrees. If it has cooled beyond that, reheat it in the microwave.) Add the melted butter.
5. Mix at medium speed for about four minutes or until the gluten has formed and the dough is elastic. The dough should be soft but not too sticky. To reach the right consistency, you may need to dribble a little extra water (maybe one tablespoon) or flour as the dough is kneading. Place the dough in the prepared bowl and cover it to keep the dough from drying while it rises. Let it rise until it doubles.
6. Gently deflate the dough and form two loaves either as free-standing loaves on a baking sheet or sandwich loaves for your bread pans. Cover the loaves and let them rise again until the dough is soft and puffy, about doubled in size.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the bread for about 35 minutes. The time will vary depending on your loaves, the pans, and your oven. The bread should make a hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. The internal temperature of the loaves should be 190 degrees.
Remove the loaves form the pans and let them cool on a wire rack. Cool completely, or nearly so, before slicing.
Copyright 2003-2007, The Prepared Pantry (http://www.prepraredpantry.com ). Published by permission
About The Author:
Dennis Weaver is a baker, a recipe designer, and a writer. He has written many baking guides and "How to Bake," a comprehensive baking and reference e-book--available free at The Prepared Pantry, http://www.preparedpantry.com, which sells baking and cooking supplies and has a free online baking library.
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